We just had a great discussion about the final two chapters of McLuhan’s Understanding Media. We took two of Lawrence’s questions and asked ourselves if we are now constantly involved in a war of the icons and whether there is an escape from it. We also discussed the (prophetic) role of the artist and debated if and how philosophers are artists too (plus could you make money with a philosophy store nowadays). You find the recording here:
Recording of the final UMRG meeting
As this was the last virtual call, I want to take the opportunity to once more thank Marcel de Leeuwe from Leerbeleving who has kindly allowed us to use his Adobe Connect account for these sessions!
Will Monroe shared two links with us this week.
The first is Mark Federman’s reply to danah boyd asking how to define work. He quotes from Understanding Media:
‘Work,’ however, does not exist in a nonliterate world. The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. … In the computer age we are once more totally involved in our roles. In the electric age, the ‘job of work’ yields to dedication and commitment, as in the tribe.
The second resource is from the The Altantic and is titled Beyond McLuhan: Your New Media Studies Syllabus in which Christina Dunbar-Hester “walks [us] through her PhD-level class on technology and media. Along the way, she distills a quarter century of academic work that goes far beyond pop culture’s standard takes on how our world changes.”
In this course we ask, how can we think about media technologies in a smart and critical way? Do they “re-wire” society and drive social change, as is popularly (and ubiquitously) claimed? How do they reflect our social values and divisions? Is there anything special about media and information technologies in particular?
Do check out the reading list at the bottom of that post!
On Monday, May 27th, at 16:00 CET we will have our final virtual meeting for #UMRG. Click this link to see the meeting in your own timezone.
We will use Adobe Connect. Click on the following link to join the meeting:
We have all finished Understanding Media now and will explore together once more. This we will use Lawrence’s audio summary and his questions as our guide. There should be a lot of discussion, so make sure the microphone of your computer is working. Go here if you think you need help with Adobe Connect.
See you there!
P.S. Can somebody please remind me at the beginning of the session to press the record button? Thanks!
Lawrence O’Connor wrote to me: “[My summary] was to have loads of illustration and music, I wanted it to be as poetic as my experience of the text but underestimated the task so it is speech only.”
His wonderful audio summary (using his actor’s voice) is available here:
Lawrence also provided two links as reference: Behind the Banner and Why I Hate School But Love Education.
He would like us to think about the following questions:
- In what ways do you experience being free/not free from ‘fragmentary specialism’ to enjoy being a ‘nomadic gatherer of knowledge’?
- What are your experiences of the ‘literary’ and ‘artist’ roles?
- What are your experiences of engagement in the War of the Icons? Can there be a neutral position?
- What are your experiences of your ‘armour being abandoned’ to create more weapons?
Here is McLuhan talking about the 1976 Carter – Ford debate (he didn’t think much of it):
McLuhan saying that the coverage of war is bigger than the war itself:
I wonder what I he would have thought of drones…
Just now we had a very interesting conversation with Terry Gordon. Gordon has edited critical editions of McLuhan’s work and is McLuhan’s biographer. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to record the audio (we used a different system today), but the Adobe Connect recording does have extensive notes in the chat history.
Gordon told us about McLuhan’s imperative to “scrutinize the modes of media in order to reveal the assumption that they impose and the perceptual habits that they foster” and spoke a lot about the media experiment that McLuhan did during his sabbatical. Gordon would love to see educators build on this work. We had educators in the room who referenced the Clark versus Kozma debate from the early nineties and debated what McLuhan meant with print as an inoculator against the numbness that media create.