Monday, April 18, 2011

Cfp: "Space, Place and the McLuhan Legacy," Twelfth Annual Convention, Media Ecology Association, University of Alberta, June 23–26, 2011.

McLuhan gave much attention to the changing environment of the city in the wake of technological change. As he stated in an article published in Canadian Architect in June 1961,“[t]oday the entire human community is being translated into ‘auditory space,’ or into that ‘field of simultaneous relations,’by electric broadcasting. It behooves the architect and town planner, above all, to know what this means” (p. 52).

For McLuhan, the city is a “technological composite,” a patchwork of media and technologies built up over time and space. In this context, new technologies may be imagined as “punctuations” in our historical landscape, inaugurating irreversible cultural, social, and economic changes. Locating the MEA convention in the heart of Edmonton’s urban centre will provide an occasion to reflect on the significance of this Western Canadian city in shaping McLuhan’s early explorations of perspective as a fundamental artistic and communicational principle.

The 12th Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association will include papers, panels, and creative projects exploring space, place, and city in the context of the McLuhan intellectual legacy. How might media ecology inform today’s architecture and city planning? What is the relationship between urban and virtual media realities? What is the meaning of the city in the “global village”? How do new media technologies intertwine, intersect, and reform today’s urban landscapes?
A suite of themes have been developed for the Centenary, presented in the form of five probes or heuristics, which McLuhan often used in his teaching and public addresses:
  • Media as extensions of the human senses
  • Media as “punctuations” in history (bias of time, bias of space)
  • Figure and ground as a means of achieving a deep understanding of changes in perception occasioned by new media
  • The city as a technological composite
  • The city as classroom

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