aspect-ratio 10x9 Stills from Nam June Paik, Suite 212 (1975)

Stills from Nam June Paik, Suite 212 (1975)

The crisis over the authority of the press “fake news” and calls for “ethical engineering” to combat threats such as “evil AI” point to a conflation of the categories of language. The languages we use for our daily affairs are similar but not identical with the ones we use to program automated processes. Confusion over how these two language forms differ creates a political deficit, an inability for democratic institutions to effectively administer technological processes for the advantage of the majority. Compounding this is the centrality of user data extraction in the contemporary advertising/influence industry which funds massive global free online services, exacerbated by the prevailing short-termism of contemporary finance.

“All news is fake, it is pseudo-event, created by the media which is employed.” – M. McLuhan, interview with Warner Troyer on W5, May 18, 1969

The figure of the artist is invoked by McLuhan as someone who is extremely sensitive to the emerging social transformations invoked by technological progress. Artists can not only sense what is coming, they also can synthesize this perception in works which can alert their societies and bring people together to discuss how they might best prepare.

“The artist’s insights or perceptions seem to have been given to mankind as a providential means of bridging the gap between evolution and technology The artist is able to program or reprogram the sensory life in a manner which gives us a navigational chart to get out of the maelstrom created by our own ingenuity” – M. McLuhan, “Man and Media”, 1979, 18:25-21:52

In this workshop we will discuss some key concepts from McLuhan and attempt to apply them to some of the works on display in the Open Codes and Kunst in Bewegung exhibitions as we reflect on our contemporary conditions. In order to prepare for the workshop, students should watch a video or two of McLuhan and note down one or two ideas they find curious, strange or interesting.

Venue: In the exhibition Feedback #3: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts, ZKM Medialounge (next to the library)

Workshop language: English

No registration needed.

Contact (in case of questions):

  • ZKM: Blanca Gimenez,
  • HfG: Daniel Irrgang,
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