Understanding Media a presentation of... the theories of Marshall McLuhan What are Media? medium (singular), media (plural): Media are technological extensions of our senses, which we use to communicate Media extend our senses -Books extend our eyes “Speakers” extend our ears TV extends both “The Medium is the Message” “Societies have always been more by the nature of the shaped media by which we communicate than by the content of communications” -- Marshall McLuhan The history of all media in one sentence We shape our tools, And our tools shape us. A new “Age” is upon us! • We are living in Not The Stone Age Not The Industrial Age And certainly not the “post-industrial” Age Before the alphabet, people would rather be blind than deaf Hearing was believing. Being educated meant reciting Homer’ Iliad from memory. Oral tradition for an aural culture. The phonetic alphabet changed our way of thinking . With wr itten lan guage 1. chr on ological, 2. classified, 3. segmen ted kn owledge took over . The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1448 • fostered more linear, visual thinking – provided the model for the assembly LINE and the mechanical age – broke down everything into component parts, which led to industrialization – sequence became associated with logical thinking Western Art was shaped by this linear, eye-based perception of space • Since the renaissance, the Western artist perceived his environment in terms of a perspective projection upon a plane surface, accepting vertical and horizontal symmetry as an absolute condition of order. New media = New modes of perception Our new are simultaneous, interrelated, visceral, intuitive, and participatory (we makes the connections). The "logic" of these languages can be circular, free-associating, discontinuous, non-linear and out of sequence. Kind of like a “cubist” painting, we get all angles at once. in the instantaneous information environment Communication is instantly everywhere Information overload can result A continuous barrage of information “implodes” upon us. Information moves faster and faster Brief, simple, funny images and messages break through the clutter An inventory of effects . . . When information moves at electronic speeds, it changes. Details blur into patterns. Causes and effects compress. Information becomes obsolete faster. The pace of change accelerates … Media languages evolve quickly Content compatible with media languages gets amplified. Events expand, and leap across the globe. We live in a Global Village. Create your own inventory of effects Consider any medium … What does it enhance or amplify in our culture? What does it obsolete or push out of prominence? What does it retrieve from the past? What does it reverse? What will the medium transform into? in conclusion… Understanding Media means becoming viscerally “media-wise”, developing an intuitive understanding of the media environment. Understanding Media requires fluency in media “languages. Media are constantly changing, so fluency is a lifelong learning process. Understanding Media is the mark of an educated citizen in the Information Age. Questions for Discussion Is shorter communication content more repeatable than longer? Can you name some disposable content? Some recyclable content? Which will transform our lives with new forms of interactivity? How will accelerating change in our media effect…. Medicine…Education...Politics…Entertainment…Relationships….Business? How will understanding media help you anticipate and embrace change?