Artists as “the Antennae of the Race”	 

Marshall McLuhan wrote in his Introduction to the Second Edition of  Understanding Media:

“The power of the arts to anticipate future social and technological developments, by a generation and more, has long been recognized. In this century Ezra Pound called the artist ‘the antennae of the race’. Art as radar acts as ‘an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the arts as prophetic, contrasts with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If an art is an ‘early warning system,’ to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study but to the development of media controls. 

http://mcluhangalaxy.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/artists-as-the-antennae-of-the-race/

Artists as “the Antennae of the Race”

Marshall McLuhan wrote in his Introduction to the Second Edition of Understanding Media:

“The power of the arts to anticipate future social and technological developments, by a generation and more, has long been recognized. In this century Ezra Pound called the artist ‘the antennae of the race’. Art as radar acts as ‘an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the arts as prophetic, contrasts with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If an art is an ‘early warning system,’ to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study but to the development of media controls.

http://mcluhangalaxy.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/artists-as-the-antennae-of-the-race/

City as Classroom (1977) – McLuhan/Hutchon/McLuhan

“City as Classroom: Understanding Language & Media” (1977) was the last book written wholly or partly by Marshall McLuhan and the only one entirely focused on education. His earlier “Report on Project in Understanding New Media” (1960), was the length of a short book, but was disseminated as an unbound stapled typescript. “City as Classroom” was co-authored by Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon (later Kawasaki), a former English student of McLuhan’s and a high school teacher in the Toronto District School Board. In this recently made available (by Bob Dobbs) audio recorded informal interview by Carl Scharfe, McLuhan talks about the initial inspiration for “City as Classroom” being Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” (1970) in which the author wrote:

“A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives…. Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.” (p. 12)

Audio recording: http://fivebodied.com/archives/audio/catalog/McLuhan/MM-Hollander.mp3

Norm Friesen offers an acute discussion of “City as Classroom” in this excerpt from his essay “Education of the Senses: The Pedagogy of Marshall McLuhan” (2009):

McLuhan’s most detailed outline for pedagogical praxis is provided in a book deliberately designed for use in the classroom ‐‐ a co‐authored textbook developed specifically for high school students, titled The City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. This text is almost entirely performative or praxis‐oriented. In fact, it can be said to perform, through questions, exercises and imperatives, many aspects of McLuhan’s life‐long mediatic and pedagogical enterprise. Appropriately, it begins with a direct address to its student readers:

Let us begin by wondering just what you are doing sitting there at your desk. Here [in the pages that follow] are some questions for you to explore…The questions and experiments you will find in this book are all concerned with important, relatively unexplored areas of our social environment. The research you choose to do will be important and original. (1) 

The book presents dozens of “questions and experiments,” getting students to manipulate and explore a wide range of characteristics of their social environments – focusing specifically on the environments presented by the classroom, the community and also by a wide range of contemporary mediatic  forms, from the magazine to video recording technologies. You can read the full essay (pdf) here: http://learningspaces.org/files/mcluhan_educating_senses.pdf

More at McLuhan Galaxy

City as Classroom (1977) – McLuhan/Hutchon/McLuhan

“City as Classroom: Understanding Language & Media” (1977) was the last book written wholly or partly by Marshall McLuhan and the only one entirely focused on education. His earlier “Report on Project in Understanding New Media” (1960), was the length of a short book, but was disseminated as an unbound stapled typescript. “City as Classroom” was co-authored by Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon (later Kawasaki), a former English student of McLuhan’s and a high school teacher in the Toronto District School Board. In this recently made available (by Bob Dobbs) audio recorded informal interview by Carl Scharfe, McLuhan talks about the initial inspiration for “City as Classroom” being Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” (1970) in which the author wrote:

“A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives…. Most learning happens casually, and even most intentional learning is not the result of programmed instruction.” (p. 12)

Audio recording: http://fivebodied.com/archives/audio/catalog/McLuhan/MM-Hollander.mp3

Norm Friesen offers an acute discussion of “City as Classroom” in this excerpt from his essay “Education of the Senses: The Pedagogy of Marshall McLuhan” (2009):

McLuhan’s most detailed outline for pedagogical praxis is provided in a book deliberately designed for use in the classroom ‐‐ a co‐authored textbook developed specifically for high school students, titled The City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media. This text is almost entirely performative or praxis‐oriented. In fact, it can be said to perform, through questions, exercises and imperatives, many aspects of McLuhan’s life‐long mediatic and pedagogical enterprise. Appropriately, it begins with a direct address to its student readers:

Let us begin by wondering just what you are doing sitting there at your desk. Here [in the pages that follow] are some questions for you to explore…The questions and experiments you will find in this book are all concerned with important, relatively unexplored areas of our social environment. The research you choose to do will be important and original. (1)

The book presents dozens of “questions and experiments,” getting students to manipulate and explore a wide range of characteristics of their social environments – focusing specifically on the environments presented by the classroom, the community and also by a wide range of contemporary mediatic forms, from the magazine to video recording technologies. You can read the full essay (pdf) here: http://learningspaces.org/files/mcluhan_educating_senses.pdf

More at McLuhan Galaxy

The Lost Marshall McLuhan Tapes

A recently discovered interview shows media guru McLuhan is still topical, even prescient

Read the interview at Maclean’s

Choice cuts:

"Some of my fellow academics are very hostile, but I sympathize with them. They’ve been asleep for 500 years and they don’t like anybody who comes along and stirs them up."

"My interest in popular culture as an art form arouses uneasiness in many quarters."

"The successor to politics will be propaganda, not in the sense of a message or ideology, but the impact of the whole technology of the times. So politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favour of his image, because the image will be so much more powerful than he could ever be."

(Joker’s Wild) “The clown is really the emperor’s PR man, who keeps him in touch with the world that the emperor cannot reach. The clown interprets the emperor to his court or the public and indicates their mood.”

"The biggest job in the world will be espionage. Around the world, people are spending more and more of their time watching the other guy. Espionage at the speed of light will become the biggest business in the world"

"With increased espionage, the more you know about the public, the more they take over the show."

"The new human occupation of the electronic age has become surveillance. CIA-style espionage is now the total human activity. Whether you call it audience rating, consumer surveys and so on—all men are now engaged as hunters of espionage. So women are completely free to take over the dominant role in our society. Women’s liberation represents demands for absolute mobility, not just physical and political freedom to change roles, jobs and attitudes—but total mobility."

"Bureaucracy has no possibility of performing leadership. A bureaucrat can never be a leader. He would have to step right out of his ballpark to become a leader."

"The classroom is becoming obsolete. The education thing is completely up for grabs. Compulsory education will disappear. It’s meaningless. Why should people be compelled to become educated? The right-hemisphere kid, who is a classroom problem, tends to know more about the media than his teachers. But literacy has become a sort of privilege for cranks and elites. The first people who learned to write and to read were the workmen who carved the inscriptions on monuments. Literacy came at the workman level before it came at the reading level."

The Lost Marshall McLuhan Tapes

A recently discovered interview shows media guru McLuhan is still topical, even prescient

Read the interview at Maclean’s

Choice cuts:

"Some of my fellow academics are very hostile, but I sympathize with them. They’ve been asleep for 500 years and they don’t like anybody who comes along and stirs them up."

"My interest in popular culture as an art form arouses uneasiness in many quarters."

"The successor to politics will be propaganda, not in the sense of a message or ideology, but the impact of the whole technology of the times. So politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favour of his image, because the image will be so much more powerful than he could ever be."

(Joker’s Wild) “The clown is really the emperor’s PR man, who keeps him in touch with the world that the emperor cannot reach. The clown interprets the emperor to his court or the public and indicates their mood.”

"The biggest job in the world will be espionage. Around the world, people are spending more and more of their time watching the other guy. Espionage at the speed of light will become the biggest business in the world"

"With increased espionage, the more you know about the public, the more they take over the show."

"The new human occupation of the electronic age has become surveillance. CIA-style espionage is now the total human activity. Whether you call it audience rating, consumer surveys and so on—all men are now engaged as hunters of espionage. So women are completely free to take over the dominant role in our society. Women’s liberation represents demands for absolute mobility, not just physical and political freedom to change roles, jobs and attitudes—but total mobility."

"Bureaucracy has no possibility of performing leadership. A bureaucrat can never be a leader. He would have to step right out of his ballpark to become a leader."

"The classroom is becoming obsolete. The education thing is completely up for grabs. Compulsory education will disappear. It’s meaningless. Why should people be compelled to become educated? The right-hemisphere kid, who is a classroom problem, tends to know more about the media than his teachers. But literacy has become a sort of privilege for cranks and elites. The first people who learned to write and to read were the workmen who carved the inscriptions on monuments. Literacy came at the workman level before it came at the reading level."

William S. Burroughs

The Electronic Revolution: Playback from Eden to Watergate

In THE INVISIBLE GENERATION first published in IT and in the Los Angeles Free Press in 1966 and reprinted in THE JOB, I consider the potential of thousands of people with recorders, portable and stationary, messages passed along like signal drums, a parody of the President’s speech up and down the balconies, in and out open windows, through walls, over courtyards, taken up by barking dogs, muttering bums, music, traffic down windy streets, across parks and soccer fields. Illusion is a revolutionary weapon:

Transmission

humayunk

humayunk:

Marshal McLuhan once posited that all man-made inventions or technologies were but extensions of the human body. For example, the shovel is an extension of our hands and feet whereby it allow us to more forcefully dig up earth, or the automobile as as extension of our feet as it allows us…