One of my goals in restarting this blog is to revisit some of our previous conversations. In truth, the topics are meant to point us in different directions and see where that leads us, but every now and then is nice to go back to the origin of a conversation and see if there is any more there there. When I heard this clip on the On the Media program yesterday afternoon, I knew this was one of those opportunities.
My first introduction to McLuan’s most famous idea, the medium is the message, was when I began learn about art and how materials act as a form of text laden with meaning and contextual information. As we begin to investigate the determinism of language (which is only one of many paths that could be found from our next prompt), I wonder where Marshall would land.
The On the Media clip begins with McLuan’s voice describing his concept saying, “The medium is a happening, it creates an environment.” I love that image of fully three dimensional model for a medium. We may experience text as an a 3D environment, but we often think of it as a 2D environment where information is transmitted rather than constructed. Text and the language it represents are a continuously changing construction that may require multiple dimensions to fully appreciate and by the time we have, the text has changed. Saving string theory for another day, thinking about language as its own medium deepens the potential of our conversation.