Long before Mad Men, Forrest Gump, and coast-to-coast classic rock FM stations completed the transubstantiation of the 1960s from reality to legend, something stranger than fiction was burning the midnight oil in an old firehouse: The Socrates of San Francisco, Howard Luck Gossage, would change advertising--and the way we think about communication--forever. [more inside]
Influential Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan's 100th birthday would be on July 21st. To celebrate, Australian national broadcaster ABC has launched The McLuhan Project. It includes rare footage, an interactive timeline of his life, and the Tweet like McLuhan project.
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert - "McLuhan prefigured the Internet era in a number of surprising ways. As he said in a March 1969 Playboy interview: 'The computer thus holds out the promise of a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the Logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of harmony and peace' ... Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of 'authority', 'authorship', and even 'knowledge' ... Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment."
The Page 69 Test --inspired by Marshall McLuhan's suggestion to readers for choosing a novel, a new blog, inviting authors to describe what's on page 69. One says: Not the best, but not the worst. If my pages were presidents, I’d put page 69 somewhere in the James K. Polk range.
Fascination with ground and figure carries on in various fields after The Rubin vase / face Illusion, M.C. Escher, and Marshall McLuhan. Besides being extremely important in the fields of photography and poetry, the figure/ground relationship is important to physicist Paul Davies, who says "the true miracle of nature is to be found in the ingenious and unswerving lawfulness of the cosmos, a lawfulness that permits complex order to emerge from chaos, life to emerge from inanimate matter, and consciousness to emerge from life." Also, Peter Grundy and Yiang Yan discuss how contextual ground relates to linguistic figure in Bill Clinton's famous apology, Andrew Graydon plays with the distinction between sound as environment and sound as music, and W.C. Richardson creates paintings in which "positive and negative spaces seem unstable; figure becomes ground, ground becomes figure."
The Medium is the Massage [mp3s]. Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian Professor of English Literature who coined phrases such as "the medium is the message" and global village in the 1960s, and who talked about coming global connectivity, saw media such as the printing-press and television as changing not only the information we received, but the ways in which we understand information and the world. His publishing style often involved the collection and juxtaposition of quotations and observations in a ways that were fast and cut-up, including collage and typographic experiment, and a sound collage lp released in 1967 which sounds as if it was recorded today.