Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts 2-day International Symposium

Venster Acties

Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts 2-day International Symposium

Waar en wanneer

Datum en tijd


Royal Academy of Art The Hague / Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten Den Haag 4 Prinsessegracht 2514 AN Den Haag Netherlands

Kaart en routebeschrijving

Zo werkt het

Beleid voor refunds

Neem contact op met de organisator om een restitutie aan te vragen.


‘Moment of Truth: for a Reasonable Ecology between the Media’

With Jasper Bernes (USA), Josephine Bosma (NL), Florian Cramer (NL), Richard Cavell (CA), Garnet Hertz (CA), Dmytri Kleiner (CA), Ganaële Langlois (CA), Geert Lovink (NL), Willem van Weelden (NL) and others. Moderated by Baruch Gottlieb (CA).

The recursive exhibition project Marshall McLuhan and the Arts is a series of exhibitions and symposia examining the changing role of literature and the arts as guides in times of accelerated technological progress.

In the electronic age, where our sciences have produced machines of extreme precision and complexity, we observe with irony, especially in political spheres, that the edifice of disinterested reason is crumbling. Several fundamental questions arise from this. To what extent does it still make sense to rationally criticise or analyse our condition? Regarding the techno-environmental crisis, do we find a way out or a way in? How to cultivate autonomy in an automated social sphere, a ‘society of control’? Has art been sublimated into the production of cyber-society or can it still push us out into the space where all probabilities have not already been calculated? In our symposium we would like to help tease out the potential for synthetic aesthetic practices to help us address the urgent concerns of our time, when mere reason seems to falter.

Marshall McLuhan was exemplary for his synthetic practice. He was a thinker of technology, a historian of literature and a publisher of the present. He eschewed peer-review to get his ideas, ‘probes’, out into the public for debate as part of a radical experimental media-arts practice.
The crisis of the status of Truth today calls us to retrieve the dialogic forms of the pre-Socratics all the while remaining cognisant of the tradition of disinterested reason which got us here. The academy itself seems to be undermined by the technologies it helped bring into being. The meaning of ‘culture’ can no longer be thought in opposition to ‘nature’, but rather, to borrow a concepts from Karen Barad, culturenature is a locus of ‘intra-action’.

Building on our experimental colloquia of last year:
in the frame of our project on the thinking of Vilém Flusser, we have brought together experts from the communication studies, aesthetics, art history, IT, literature and transdiciplinary practices to join a colloquium format designed to work out useful meeting points where we work out strategies to engage with the transformations brought on by rapid technological change.

Despite the promises of an open technological society with industrial bounty equal opportunities for all, our age still struggles gravely with problems that it seemed we were on the verge of surpassing 50 years ago. How is such an apparent stalemate still possible in the age of supercomputers and AI? Is it a question of, in Benjamin Bratton’s phrase ‘all computation along the wrong curve’? How are we to know? And who are ‘we’ anyway? Increasingly apparent since McLuhan’s time is that a society is not a stable construct but rather consists of emergent relations, relations conditioned by economic concerns. McLuhan proposed a research path towards a ‘reasonable ecology between the media’, which would allow us to preserve the techniques we still need from the past, such as critical reason and literacy, allowing these to take on new purposes and roles within a apocalyptic planetary household of anthropogenic effects.


Thursday 28 September 2017
11:00 - 11:10 Welcome by Marie-José Sondeijker
11:10 - 11:45 Thematic introduction: Baruch Gottlieb
11:45 - 12:15 Presentation: Florian Cramer
12:15 - 13:00 Introduction to all participants: Gottlieb & Bosma
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch break + Exhibition visit Feedback #1
14:30 - 15:00 Re-cap conversation: Bosma & Van Weelden
15:00 - 15:45 Presentation: Richard Cavell
15:45 - 16:45 All participants: McLuhan and Composed Theater
16:45 - 17:00 Coffee Break
17:00 - 17:30 Conversation: Geert Lovink & Garnet Hertz
17:30 - 18:15 Synthetic discussion: Utopias then and Now
18:15 - 18:30 Round-up
18:30 - 19:00 Snacks & drinks
19:00 - 20:30 Concert: Peter Blegvad and Slapp Happy

Friday 29 September 2017
11:00 - 11:15 Welcome, introduction to the day’s plan
11:15 - 12:00 Presentation: Jasper Bernes
12:00 - 13:15 Discussion: Value and Planning
13:15 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 14:30 Re-cap conversation: Bosma & Van Weelden
14:30 - 15:00 Presentation: Ganaele Langlois
15:00 - 15:45 Discussion: Textiles as Anti-Media
15:45 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 16:45 Synthetic Exercise: Dmytri Kleiner
16:45 - 17:45 Presentations: Synthetic Exercise
17:45 - 18:00 Round up
18:00 - 19:00 Drinks: West in Huis Huguetan
19:00 - 23:00 2 Exhibitions: at West

View our website for more information and full program: