Recording of the week 10 #UMRG meeting

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!


W. Terrence Gordon on McLuhan for #UMRG

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.

Mark Federman on McLuhan – A Recording for #UMRG

An UMRG participant's rendition of Mark

An UMRG participant’s rendition of Mark

Mark Federman just delivered a wonderfully clear guest lecture on McLuhan’s work. The recording is available:

Recording of Mark Federman Guest Lecture

He discussed McLuhan tetrads from The Laws of Media and gave us a new way of thinking about media temperature (hot and cold). There was plenty of time for questions. We discussed McLuhan personality, his reception over the years and how best to approach studying his work and applying it to our own work. Mark gave a few references. Below a incomplete list:

Below my favourite two McLuhan quotes that Mark used:

Recording of the Week 4 #UMRG Meeting

We had a small group today with four of us doing a deeper discussion on individualism, transhumanism, Western and Eastern culture and language, the metaphor of the page and the stream, the farsightedness (literally) of Buckminster Fuller, the difference between Money in your hand and in your bank account and the physicality of coins (among other things). You can find the recording here:

Week 4 #UMRG Recording

A big thanks to the participants!

Recording of the Week 3 #UMRG Meeting

Please find a recording of this week’s meeting, a guest lecture by Daniel Erasmus on Hot and Cold Media and McLuhan’s Tetrads, here:

Week 3 #UMRG Recording

I once again pushed the record button too late, but still managed to catch the interesting discussion about identity and consciousness.

We didn’t explicitly discuss the questions that were asked by the summarizers. Can I ask you to explicitly comment here on the blog on the questions that are asked by Glen and by me.

Once more, a big thank you to all the participants!

Recording of the Week 2 #UMRG Meeting

Easter and summertime made it hard for a few people to attend, but there were still five of use discussing the questions that Zane and Matthew raised. You can access the recording of the session here:

Week 2 #UMRG Recording

We managed to discuss whether we need to understand technology or should just use it (and the concept of suspending judgement), what McLuhan meant when he talked about artists, why artists are important, a few specific examples of hybrid energy created by artists and McLuhan’s perspective on the quantified self movement.

A big thank you to all the participants!

Write-up and Recording of the #UMRG Kickoff Meeting

We have just finished the kickoff meeting of the Understanding Media Reading Group.

Technology Woes (Adobe Connect)

We had a bit of messy start with most of us (including me) struggling with getting Audio and Video to work in Adobe Connect. I therefore “stole” a set of instructions for Adobe Connect that should make things a lot easier next week. Find them here.

A Recording of our Meeting

If you can stomach the disorder, then this recording of the kickoff meeting does have some useful information. We discussed the technology architecture of the reading group, clarified some things around the weekly summaries, looked at some of the potential guest lecturers and introduced ourselves to each other. We also decided we will run a weekly quote competition.

Quote Competition

They don’t come more “quotable” than McLuhan. Every week we will run a quote competition. The “rules” are as follows:

  • Everybody can participate
  • The quote will have to come from one of the chapters we are reading in that week
  • Everybody can only send in one quote
  • The quote has to fit in a single tweet (incl. a hashtag)
  • You send in the quote by tweeting it with hashtag #umrgquote
  • We will vote on the best quote during our weekly webinar

Using the #UMRG hashtag

Everybody is encouraged to post thoughts, links to thoughts and or link to Twitter and to use the hashtag #umrg. I will put in some effort to aggregate and curate what comes by in through that channel and will repost it in the blog.


Do find me and connect if you have any other questions or thoughts. Let’s start reading! Up for this week are the introduction(s) and chapter 1, 2 and 3.