Sunday, October 16, 2011

[Yasmin_discussions] MCLUHAN EFFECT

from colette tron

> - Topic 2 : A cultural and technological challenge, the business of the artists
For McLuhan, but I guess for thinking in general of the relation
between the man and technology, each invention and introduction of a
technology in the society, in the every day life creates such a
transformation that it makes some kind of revolution : on the sensory
system, nervous system, perception, cognition sensitivity…

These influences and consequences have been treated on different
levels by the anthropologist Leroy-Ghouran, the sociologist Gilbert
Simondon, the scientist Jean-Pierre Changeux, the philosopher Bernard
Stiegler, etc, only for France, and of course by McLuhan,

and after him in the field of neuroculture and neuroaesthetic by
Derrick de Kerckhove who was his associate.
McLuhan considered the technologies as « extensions of man ». So, as
prosthesis, medias and machines are, up to him, a part of the body.

And he even thought that sooner or later the medias would be under the
skin. That means inside us. The augmented man has thus artificial
organs that can be the computer, the clothes, the television,
writing, sensors, and so on, technologies that make the environment
and the culture of body and mind.

He wrote that « the new medias and new technologies through which we
amplify and extand ourselves are huge operations on the social body »
and that « this is the whole system that undergoes a transformation. »
Each new one moves the intersensory relations. And thus, the cultural

To understand the medias, and its effects, McLuhan (wrote his book of
course, but) argued a certain distance with them. A distance to
perceive the changes, to dominate the moves, to diminish the impact or
the shock, and to think the future of the civilisation. To accept the
challenge of technological and cultural changes, McLuhan trust the

In the human history, the critic or the adaptation to the new
extensions of man in the private and social life have not been made
easily except by the consciousness of the artists, said McLuhan : «
The artist is able to capture the message of the cultural and
technological challenge a long time before the impact of the
transformation can be felt. »
Maybe we can have commentary and exchange about some propositions by
McLuhan about the important role of the artists in the changes of
culture through media and technologies, and their place
inexperimentation, research, science and society, or social body in
the words of McLuhan. A place that McLuhan defended instead of
considering art as entertainment. « I would like to know what would
happen if suddenly we take art for what it is really. »

In the chapter « The challenge and the fall » (Understanding medias)
here are some of the McLuhan's sentences (approximative translation) :
« In the age of electricity, it is nothing to talk about the artists
as persons that anticipate their era. Our technology is also ahead to
our time, if we accept to see it as it is. The artist has to leave his
ivory tower to go to the control tower of the society, in order to
avoid the accident… Like there is the university for the scientific
organization of knowledge, the artist is essential for the direction,
the analyze, the understanding of the forms and structures of life
created by the electric technology. »

> - « In all fields, the one of the science and the one of the humanities, the artist is a man that understand the meaning of his action and of the knowledge of his era. He is the man of the global lucidity. »
> - « The artist can compensate for the sensory relations before the shock of a new technology anaesthetize the conscient modes of action… If people could be convinced that art is a way to know in advance and precisely the psychologic and social effects of the next technology, won't they make themselves artists ? Or would
> applie themeselves to translate new forms or art into a social navigation map ? »

> - « Experimental art gives information to mankind with accuracy on the following attacks on their mind that will procure their own technologies… These parts of ourselves that we project outside of us under the form of inventions are some attempts to compensate some collective pressure. But the medicine can generate a bigger
pain. Here the artist can learn to us to absorb the knock. »

In a certain part of this chapter, Mc Luhan notices that if we
continue to consider the extensions of the body as external and
independant from us, we will fall down on each « banana skin of the
technology ». So we have to keep awake and to pay attention to it.
With the help of artists, we should manage to take up the challenge.

In this framework, I would like to imagine which function can take
art and artists in the process of research and invention, innovation,
creation ? Since and after electric age, what kind of relation between
art and science, technology and culture, have been made and can be
constitued for the future ?

> Is technology a « pharmakon » (cf B.Stiegler) and how the artistic consciousness can interfere, alert, awake the society ? Is it the role of art to comprehend sensitive changes in order to take care of it or to shock by representing new sensory situations ?

> How can art and science can collaborate to create a « good » technology and a safe and sustainable society ? How to respect body and mind in the conception of
> technical objects born from the science, with the consciousness of both science and art ?
Colette Tron

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