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Medium is the Massage


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Presentation about the book "Medium is the Massage" by Marshall Mcluhan.

Published in: Design
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Medium is the Massage

  2. 2. First published in 1967 by Bantam books
  3. 3. Written by Canadian philosopher and media analyst Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
  4. 4. Graphic design by Quentin Fiore (born 1920)
  5. 5. Cover of this edition by Shepard Fairey
  6. 6. Sold over million copies around the world
  7. 7. The Book is a graphical representation of McLuhan’s thesis “The Medium is the Message” in his previous book “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)”
  8. 8. It is 160 pages and contains relatively small amount of text
  9. 9. The Layout is experimental
  10. 10. Some pages are left almost blank
  11. 11. Some contains only images juxtaposed
  12. 12. The name of the book comes from McLuhan’s original saying “Medium is the Message”
  13. 13. The book is called “Medium is the Massage” because a typesetter’s mistake. McLuhan loved it, because he realised that the saying was already a cliche
  14. 14. The term “massage” creates a link to McLuhan’s thinking. The modern media is considered to be soothing and relaxing, but according to McLuhan, the pleasure is conceiving
  15. 15. The changes in society and the rapid progress in technology is affecting every part of us as human beings, causing anxiety (“the age of anxiety” see the poem by W. H. Auden)
  16. 16. What’s the message of a melody, or a house or a dress?
  17. 17. Understanding the term “medium”: 1. THE MEDIUM AS A DEVICE (book, movie, etc) 2. THE MEDIUM AS A PROCESS (Alphabets, automation of technology, print technology)
  18. 18. For example automation of technology, the main focus of the medium is not the end result from the machine (food, cars etc), but the larger impact of the change from manual labour to automation.
  19. 19. The “medium” changed from human to machine. For the “message” of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.
  20. 20. The medium (as a device) affects the users approach and attitude towards the subject matter (Holocaust: Cartoon vs. TV documentary)
  21. 21. Characteristic of all media is that the “content” of any medium is always another medium.
  22. 22. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print. The content of speech is a process of thought.
  24. 24. Mediums are extensions of human abilities: the book is an exten- sion of the eye, the wheel is an exten- sion of the foot. The Internet – it’s the extension of consciousness.
  25. 25. When thinking about McLuhan’s aim to “put people on” (teasing, challenging, upsetting), he deliberately overstates his sayings. “Medium is the message (or massage)” is deliberately provocative and over simplification of his theory.
  26. 26. From Hybrid narrative point of view, juxtaposing text and photos and drawings clarifies McLuhan’s com- plicated theory. Or at least tries to. The book’s design challenge reader to consider the effect of unconventional book layout.
  27. 27. GLOBAL VILLAGE I only introduce this one concept briefly in presentation, other interesting and central concepts are: “Global Theater” “The rear-view mirror” “The invisible environment” “Total field”
  28. 28. One of McLuhan’s central term is Global Village. It can be described as the internet we know today. Social cir- cles are expanded and people can eas- ily find communities and interact with each other, share same interests and concerns.
  29. 29. According to McLuhan, we are in the chaotic world of all-at-onceness (the high speeds of electric communications) and tribal emotions, because we confront this new situation and environment with outdated mindset.
  30. 30. Negative effect is that it ensures disagreements and discontinuity. Internet as a medium also affects how people communicate with each other, because it lacks physical contact and emotions. People tend to behave differently in Social media than in real life.
  31. 31. My conclusion is that McLuhans “medium” should be understood more wider meaning than just a technical medium (Device vs. Process). It represents a larger system or phenom- enon, that has changed we understand the world and how we operate in it.
  32. 32. “You see, Dad, Professor McLuhan says the environment that man cre- ates becomes his medium for defining his role in it. The invention of type created linear, or sequential, thought, separating thought from ac- tion. Now, with TV and folk singing, thought and action are closer and social involvement is greater. We again live in a village. Get it?”
  33. 33. Thank you!