7 DUDLEY CINEMA shows the following films at SPONTO Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave Venice CA 8:00pm www.81x.com/7dudley/cinemaCelebrate the 101th anniversary of Bloomsday with Sean Walsh's exciting adaptation of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses. "Stephen Rea provides a masterly evocation of Bloom managing to convey at the same time his Irishness, his Jewishness, his cosmopolitanism and his humanity." -David Norris
Free admission, come early - seating is limited.
WED, Nov 2. DEF CON BOB ('05, 33m) Eli Elliott brilliantly documents Robert Dobbs probing Marshall McLuhan's dangerous breakthroughs. Treating life as an aesthetic inquiry, Joe Gibbons's hilarious "autobiography" CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH ('02, 35m), thirty years in the making, is as harrowing as Hawthorne's "Wakefield." NO-ZONE ('93, 18m) Punker Greta Snider's five-part essay, eloquently surrounding the idea of millennial anxiety. LOST IN THE THINKING ('05, 30m) Maverick Damon Packard's deep meditation on hopelessness as guided by the Merlin character from Zardoz.
WED, Nov 9. McLUHAN'S ABC ('02, 60m) This rare film by David Sobelman is basically a primer for those who may not be familiar with McLuhan, and is an excellent way to get acquainted with him. With interviews from McLuhan's son, Eric, and his widow Corrine McLuhan. Going letter by letter through the alphabet, the documentary alternates between the modern day interviews and old film clips of McLuhan with television interviewer Mike McManus on his show in 1977 and an interview with Tom Wolfe in 1975. Discussion with Janine Marchessault, author of the wonderfully evocative new McLuhan book COSMIC MEDIA. Plus Canada's preeminent diary filmmaker Philip Hoffman will be present to screen his experimental documentaries: CHIMERA ('96, 15m) and O?ZOO! (The making of a fiction film)('86, 23m).
(Media Ecology Super Sessions)
on COSMIC MEDIA
with author JANINE MARCHESSAULT
in dialogue with Gerry Fialka
Tuesday, Nov 8 at 8pm
602 Venice Blvd, 310-862-4242,
Feted and reviled in his own lifetime, Marshall McLuhan has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Janine Marchessault's new book COSMIC MEDIA gives a balanced and carefully considered appraisal of McLuhan's contribution to cultural theory, which may be even more pertinent now, in the early twenty-first century, than when he originally formulated it in the 1950s and 1960s."
Jim McGuigan,Professor of Cultural Studies,University of Loughborough
Marshall McLuhan's theories of media, art and culture are being reexamined in the context of new digital cultures and globalization. This book provides a close reading of some of his key texts to discern the contribution his thinking can make to our understanding of the present condition of convergent and yet unstable media cultures. Across McLuhan's wide-ranging writings on the media, the author argues that his central contribution to communication and cultural studies does not consist in any one theoretical insight. Rather, McLuhan's writings over a 40-year period from the 1940s to his death in 1980 are consistently concerned with understanding the contemporary media as a problem of method. The key to any analysis of the media, always for McLuhan connected to the spaces and temporalities of the lifeworld, is a reflexive field approach. Oriented around the archival, encyclopedic, and artifactual surfaces but also "haptic harmonies" and ruptures, this method draws out patterns that render ground assumptions and matrices discernible. This was encapsulated in his most famous neologism, "the medium is message" and this is perhaps why McLuhan had a greater influence on artists than on academics.
Cosmic Media sees McLuhan a creative researcher and an interdisciplinary thinker who is deeply connected to the Romantic tradition. McLuhan does not make art so much as he recognizes the value of art as a means to discern the production of mediated forms of consciousness. We should bear in mind that McLuhan never claimed to be anything more than "a student" immersed in the new interdisciplinary field of Media Studies that his work helped to inaugurate. Illustrated with many examples from the network society, the book will serve as a guide to anyone who wants to know why McLuhan?s work remains vital, particularly in relation to the study of new media and its environment.
Janine Marchessault is a Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York. She is director of the Visible City Project and Archive, which is examining creative industries and artists' cultures across several cities. A past president of the Film Studies Association of Canada, Marchessault has published widely on film and digital media technologies and has been the editor of several anthologies, including Mirror Machine: Video and Identity (YYZ: 1995); Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women Filmmakers (UTP: 1999); Wild Science: Reading Feminism, Science and the Media (Routledge: 2000); as well as the forthcoming book "Fluid Screens".
MESS (Media Ecology Super Sessions), produced by Gerry Fialka since 1997, is
based on the Marshall McLuhan insight: "If you don't study the effects of
technology, you become its slave." The word "technology" refers to anything
humans invent, from language to computers, from philosophy to books, from
toothpicks to bulldozers. In dialogues with modern thinkers, MESS provides a
forum to probe both form and content of media with suspended judgment, and
comprehensively survey its services and disservices, avoiding point of view.
Participants (including writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and activists)
are the early radar systems detecting how the major transformations in
technology affect us. Since we live in a MESS-age, this interactive series
hoicks up the importance of questions by shaking people out of their regular
agendas and reality tunnels. MESS promotes mapmakers who are searching for new
lands and new data. MESS seeks meticulous understanding of everything we see,
hear, feel, taste, and smell, passionately needling the somnambulists and
proving learning can be fun.
"How are you to argue with people who insist on sticking their heads in the
invisible teeth of technology, calling the whole thing freedom?" - McLuhan.
"Technologies are not mere exterior ads but also interior transformations of
consciousness." -Walter Ong. "Simply to meet face-to-face is already an action
against the forces that oppress us by isolation, by loneliness, by the trance of
media." -Hakim Bey, Immediatism. "If it works, it's obsolete." -McLuhan.
"Another fine MESS." -Random Lengths News.
"Gerry Fialka is very special, well prepared and ready to take risks - I learned
about my self! My kind of interviewer." -Martin Perlich, author THE ART OF THE
Contact: Gerry Fialka 310-306-7330
Join us for Bloomsday
THURS, June 16
showing the film BLOOM ('03, 113m)
at 7 DUDLEY CINEMA
SPONTO Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave, Venice
8:00pm (7pm pre-show festivities)
more info 310-306-7330
Come early - seating is limited.
Bergamot Books & MESS (Media Ecology Super Sessions)
in dialogue with Gerry Fialka
on WEDNESDAY, Feb 9, 2005 at 7:30pm
at Bergamot Station, Building G-5B, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA, 310-453-5768.
Free admission. Free parking.
Info: 310-306-7330 or visit: www.bergamotstationbooks.com
ROBERT DOBBS, Marshall McLuhan's main archivist, will discuss the legendary author and artist MARSHALL McLUHAN. DOBBS will focus on the recent releases by Gingko Press from the extensive McLuhan catalog (especially UNDERSTANDING MEDIA - CRITICAL EDITION and THROUGH THE VANISHING POINT: SPACE IN POETRY AND PAINTING), as well as brand new publications (including THE BOOK OF PROBES and McLUHAN UNBOUND VOLUME I).
Dobbs will probe McLuhan's techniques of modern anthropology to discover the "out-of-awareness" aspects of culture while examining the rhetoric of advertising and entertainment. This interactive discussion will help shift perceptions of the effects of our ever-changing media structures.
ROBERT DOBBS, author of PHATIC COMMUNION WITH ROBERT DOBBS, has evolved common sense into the discipline of "media yoga." His extensive research has been utilized by Donald Theall (THE VIRTUAL MARSHALL McLUHAN), Frank Zingrone (THE MEDIA SYMPLEX), Barry Miles (ZAPPA), Kevin Courrier (THE SUBVERSIVE WORLD OF ZAPPA) among many others. DOBBS serves as a paramedia consultant to everyone from universities to major corporations. His recent appearance at The McLuhan International Festival of the Future was the talk of Toronto. For more info, please visit: www.mcluhaninstitute.org (go to the baedeker page).
Robert Dobbs summarized McLuhan's contribution in his letter to the editor of the March 3, 2003 issue of the New York Observer: "Ron Rosenbaum's celebration of the works of Norman Mailer ('Mailer Was the Rage,' Feb. 10) perhaps misses the context that cries out for the Great American Novel. The essence of the G.A.N. is the range of its 'put-on.' It attempts to put on and wear not only its own times, but the full history of printed American literature, especially its recognized classics.
Mr.Mailer's problem involves the question of whether a book can compete with the other put-ons, or media, that engage the American multi-consumer. Perhaps a solution is to write a novel that puts on all the media. This was accomplished by Marshall McLuhan with his published work, especially UNDERSTANDING MEDIA, which he considered a new form of novel and a new kind of science fiction.
Mr. McLuhan, starting from the premise that the daily newspaper was the great American novel, put on the competition, and did what Mr. Mailer couldn't -changed the world and the English language- all through his writing.
In Stephanie McLuhan's 1984 documentary about her father, Mr. Mailer says that Mr. McLuhan was the only person who could think faster than him. So the big secret of the past 40 years is that Marshall McLuhan wrote the Great American Novel, and the ink isn't dry yet."
"We must invent a NEW METAPHOR, restructure our thoughts and feelings. The new media are not bridges between man and nature: they are nature." - McLuhan
MESS (Media Ecology Super Sessions), produced by Gerry Fialka since 1997, is based on the Marshall McLuhan insight: "If you don't study the effects of technology, you become its slave." The word "technology" refers to anything humans invent, from language to computers, from philosophy to books, from toothpicks to bulldozers. In dialogues with modern thinkers, MESS provides a forum to probe both form and content of media with suspended judgment, and comprehensively survey its services and disservices, avoiding point of view.
Participants (including writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and activists) are the early radar systems detecting how the major transformations in technology affect us. Since we live in a MESS-age, this interactive series hoicks up the importance of questions by shaking people out of their regular agendas and reality tunnels. MESS promotes mapmakers who are searching for new lands and new data. MESS seeks meticulous understanding of everything we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell, passionately needling the somnambulists and proving learning can be fun.
"How are you to argue with people who insist on sticking their heads in the invisible teeth of technology, calling the whole thing freedom?" - McLuhan. "Technologies are not mere exterior ads but also interior transformations of consciousness." -Walter Ong. "Simply to meet face-to-face is already an action against the forces that oppress us by isolation, by loneliness, by the trance of media." -Hakim Bey, Immediatism. "If it works, it's obsolete." -McLuhan. "Another fine MESS." -Random Lengths News.
"Gerry Fialka is very special, well prepared and ready to take risks - I learned about my self! My kind of interviewer." -Martin Perlich, author THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW.
"Archivist Dobbs talks McLuhan theory at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica"
BY RAHNE PISTOR The Argonaut 2-3-05
Media analyst/cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan believed that artists need to integrate, analyze and utilize rapid changes in technology, in order to truly have a mass impact on people in the modern age.
Now, Bob Dobbs, McLuhan's archivist who chronologized and sorted McLuhan's writings after his death, is scheduled to give a talk and discussion about McLuhan's theories on art and media, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 9th, at Bergamot Books, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.
Dobbs will focus on recent releases by Gingko Press of McLuhan's Understanding Media and Through the Vanishing Point.
"McLuhan thought of a better way to deal with art in the relation to its commodification." says Dobbs.
"In Renaissance times, it was the scientist versus the humanist. The scientist would invent and the humanist or artist would write or create, dealing with the side effects of the invention."
McLuhan felt that, for the most part, traditional art was no longer serving this purpose.
"McLuhan believed that electronic environments were molding people on a scale that was greater than any artwork, and that, therefore, artists should embrace the technologies of the future," says Dobbs.
McLuhan's oft-cited example of his theory in practice was James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, a book Dobbs says mirrors the media environment of radio, which was dominant in the 1930s. The book was finished in 1939.
McLuhan's theory on media was divided between old "analog media" (newspapers, radio, TV) and forms of digital media that were in early stages of development in the 1960s and 1970s, and now are common in the home computer age.
McLuhan, understanding information overload and short attention spans, would often express his philosophy in catch phrases and sound bite quotes.
His catch phrase for old media was that the "medium is the message."
"By this, he meant that in mass media environments, people are molded not only by the content but by a sensory bias specific to the medium," says Dobbs.
For digital media, he adopted a different adage, that the "user is the content."
"Once VCRs, and eventually computers, became readily available, it gave more control to the user," says Dobbs. "Now you can control the time that information is fed to you.
"With PCs and workstations and the internet, people are able to interact and have more of a choice. The user can mold and manipulate the content."
"Generation X is still somewhat in the clutches of old media. Generation Y, the younger generation, however, laughs at the old mass media. That's why Jon Stewart (host of the Daily Show, a news spoof television program) is more powerful than Dan Rather," says Dobbs.
"Now the flip side is that sometimes with digital media the user tends to think he's in control, when he's really being fed information in the same form of old media."
In November and December 1981, after McLuhan's death, Dobbs sifted through decades of McLuhan's letters, essays, manuscripts and notes, making chronological sense out of the materials.
"I had known McLuhan for years," says Dobbs. "His family knew I knew him. "I knew the history of his work. So I was asked to organize McLuhan's 'garbage', so to speak — all of the filing cabinets and boxes that were in his house."
The results of Dobbs' work now rest with the National Archives in Ottawa, as McLuhan was Canadian.
McLuhan's heyday of popularity was in the 1960s, starting with the release of Understanding Media in 1964, and reaching its peak in the late 1960s.
"His ideas were kind of a youth culture fad at that point," says Dobbs. "He also went through a period in the 1970s where it was not cool to like him."
Dobbs considers McLuhan's best proteges to be futurist authors Charles Reich, Alvin Toffler and John Naisbitt.
But Dobbs suggests that perhaps today's information age is not ripe for theorists like McLuhan to be viewed as leaders or idolized in popular culture.
"These days there seems to be no need for gurus speaking for society," says Dobbs. "Society is so fragmented by digital media and full of micro-gurus, all reaching their small enclaves."
"The closest equivalent that I can think of to the sort of gurus with mass reach that there used to be would be Wired magazine, where the magazine itself has become the guru," says Dobbs. For More Information: (310) 306-7330.
For immediate release
Contact: Richard Zvonar 818-788-2202
or Gerry Fialka 310-306-7330
American Composers Forum of Los Angelesâ€™ SPECIAL SALON series proudly presents the interactive workshop
McLUHAN AS MUSIC by GERRY FIALKA
on Sunday, August 29, 2004 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm at Sponto Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave, Venice, 310-306-7330. Admission $10.
Music outsider Gerry Fialka will examine Marshall McLuhan's probe: "Song is slowed-down speech. The reason cultures have different musical tastes is ultimately connected to language difference" by surveying the anti-hits of The Shaggs, Igor Stravinsky's Harvard lectures (attempting to prove that music is an expression of itself and nothing more), Korla Pandit's "Universal Language of Music" philosophy, The Mothers Of Invention's employment of Sprechstimme, Ornette Coleman's harmolodic philosophy, John Oswald's Plunderphonics, and air molecule sculptures by Captain Beefheart, George Russell and Sun Ra. "Music is the Mother art"-Frank Lloyd Wright. "The best music does not want to be recorded" -Tom Waits. The participants will employ McLuhan's Tetrad (four questions to uncover the hidden environments and effects of human inventions) to explore the art of composing music, and much more.
Gerry Fialka has hosted the Marshall McLuhan-Finnegans Wake Reading Club since 1995. Visit: jesgrew.org/wake/