By Angela Krewani
Marshall McLuhan used to be one of many prime media theorists of the 20 th century. This choice of essays explores the various features of McLuhan’s paintings from a transatlantic viewpoint, balancing utilized case stories with theoretical discussions.
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Extra resources for McLuhan's Global Village Today: Transatlantic Perspectives
Speech, music, etc. needed to be transformed into symbols before they could be stored or manipulated. What fell through the ‘grid of the symbolic’ was lost. The rise of technological media brought about the end of the monopoly of textual media and thus the end of this restriction. The first analogue technological medium was photography: for the first time the real could be stored directly, without any prior transformation that relied on symbols or humans. Later, gramophone and film enabled the storage of contingent temporal events.
They are all, if I may say so, infected by Catholicism. 9 McLuhan’s Catholicism is intrinsically connected with his other ideas. One of the most prominent ideas in his work, namely electricity, and the role it plays in his concepts, has so far not been the subject of a thorough investigation or even critique. 10 Of course it is often emphasized how important the notion of electricity was for McLuhan. But a discourse analysis of what this electricity is that McLuhan had been talking about in every book since his issue of Explorations, or a historical analysis of where it comes from, is still missing.
The change he locates in the advent of electric media could not be more influential. 12 This is the reason why writing a genealogy of McLuhan’s electricity means to investigate first steps of a genealogy of media theory. 13 The central idea of his work, namely that the medium is the message, is formulated against the background of the idea of instant electric transmission. 14 Instant electricity has three main aspects: first, says McLuhan, it offers a way to perceive Gestalten, figures with grounds and not figures without grounds.