Wednesday, 1 October 2008

constitution dockThis week I have been thinking about, reading about and watching things about creativity.

3 influential books I will mention:

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964 (this version reprinted 2001)

Thinking with Things: toward a new vision of art, Esther Pasztory,  2005

Creativity: Unleashing the Forces within, Osho, 1999

The movie: Pollock, with Ed Harris & Marcia Gay Harden

And finally the exhibition: Art Deco at the NGV

Have all had an influence on me and are shaping my current conversation around creativity and what is means in our contemporary virtual media driven society.

So I would like to start my little essay with this quote  ending McLuhan’s book (which I have updated to use more MODERN terms so that younger people may understand):

Since electric energy is independent of the place or kind of work-operation, it creates patterns of decentralism (decentralisation) and diversity in the work to be done.

This is a logic that appears plainly enough in the difference between firelight and electric light, for example. Persons grouped around a fire or candle for warmth or light are less able to pursue independent thoughts or even tasks, than people supplied with electric light.

In the same way, those social and educational patterns latent (inherent but untapped)  in (computer) automation are those of self-employment and artistic autonomy. Panic about automation as a threat of uniformity on a world scale is the projection into the future of mechanical standardization and specialism, which are now past.

I feel that this is going to be a number of posts, or it would be one really lengthy one. So I will split it over a few posts.

Thursdaycaba at twilight, 2 October 2008

I have become a bit fascinated by McLuhan’s predictions about the coming of electronic technologies. So I have included some links and quotes in this post, before I continue my little essay on creativity next post.

I am curious to know what would happen if art were suddenly seen for what it is, namely, exact information of how to rearrange one’s psyche in order to anticipate the next blow from our own extended faculties… (Marshall McLuhan)

Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it. (Marshall McLuhan)

As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes. (Marshall McLuhan)

And I highly recommend devoting half an hour or so to this little curiosity from the vast world of information that is the www:

Here is a curious recording: (if m3u (streaming) audio work for you, or if it doesn’t (though the latter URL requires a 25 mb download before you can hear anything)). This is a recording of Marshall McLuhan (warts and all) visiting a High school classroom in Toronto, in conversation with the students. I’m not sure of the date of this recording. Probably late sixties (his book ‘Understanding Media’ was published in 1964). A friend of mine taped this recording when it appeared on the CBC radio program Ideas back when it was aired, which was probably late sixties or early seventies. It was recorded and edited by Alan Anderson. (THIS ONE IS THE 25MB DOWNLOAD VERSION)


Btw, I have turned my Mac’s speech recognition on, and I am teaching it to understand my voice. It speaks as a little alien. A little like EvA in Wall-E the latest Pixar movie which Will and I went to see this week.