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Challenge and Collapse

Understanding MediaMcLuhan text

“The new media and technologies by which we amplify and extend ourselves constitute huge collective surgery carried out on the social body with complete disregard for antiseptics. If the operations are needed, the inevitability of infecting the whole system during the operation has to be considered. For in operating on society with new technology, it is not the incised area that is most affected. The area of impact and incision is numb. It is the entire system that is changed. The effect of radio is visual, the effect of the photo is auditory. Each new impact shifts the ratios among all the senses. What we seek today is either a means of controlling these shifts in the sense-ratios of the psychic and social outlook, or a means of avoiding them altogether. To have a disease without its symptoms is to be immune. No society has ever known enough about its actions to have developed immunity to its new extensions or technologies. Today we have begun to sense that art may be able to provide such immunity.”

Read by V. Hardy
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.

CT+CR Collective

The Critical Theory and Creative Research Collective is devoted to socio-political critique, including the rethinking and recalibration of unstable, fast-changing relations between machine-generated data and human experience, theory and practice, the possible and the real, time and judgment, process and end-driven behavior. Its members include Anne-Marie Oliver, Barry Sanders, Marie-Pierre Hasne, Joan Handwerg, Nicole Smith, Marshall Astor, Carmen Denison, Peter Falanga, Andre Fortes, Dustin Freemont, Val Hardy, Lauren Heagerty, Hannah Horovitz, Evangelina Owens, Mel Ponis, Kevin Smith, Mohammed Usrof, Brooke Wendt, and Chloé Womack.

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