Spark presents a special hour of Marshall McLuhan-inspired programming called, Tomorrow Is Our Permanent Address, named after one of McLuhan's own witty turns of phrase. Today marks the centenary of McLuhan's birth, and what better way to celebrate than exploring the theories of a man who has been credited with predicting the future of technology. McLuhan is the message today, just click below to listen to the whole program or download the MP3 (runs 52:30).
You can also listen to individual stories below.
This year marks the centenary of Marshall McLuhan's birth - on July 21, 1911 in Edmonton. It's a big deal, with all kinds of events planned in Canada and abroad. Here at Spark, we are hosting our own McLuhan Fest, through the month of July because whether you see McLuhan as a folk hero, an academic, a hippie prophet, or a Canadian icon, what he had to say about media more than 40 years ago shines light on today's digital world. Eric McLuhan is a lecturer and author and for many years worked closely with his father researching media and communications theory. Published posthumously in 1988 by Eric, Laws of Media brought together McLuhan's ideas as a tetrad of media effects, four laws of media. Here is Nora's conversation with Eric McLuhan. (Runs 11:02)
This past season on Spark, we talked a great deal about the Internet of Things, and the idea of networked or cognitive cities and the ways urban planners are thinking about using our data trails to create better infrastructure. A leader in the field is Adam Greenfield. Adam is founder and managing director of the urban-systems design practice Urbanscale and he spoke to Nora about the future of the networked city, its relationship with our everyday lives and how it all relates to one of Mcluhan's media laws, "What does the medium extend?". (Runs 12:22)
In an age of digital music downloads, when it's cheap or free to reproduce things endlessly, scarcity is making a comeback: from online amateur recordings to hand-crafted limited edition music sets. Looking at these ideas in the context of McLuhan's media law, "What does the medium retrieve?" Nora speaks with media theorist Aimee Morrison about why we are returning to the idea of fan exclusivity. She also talks to Ian MacKaye of legendary punk band Fugazi, and Jay Ferguson of Sloan about the different ways they're wrangling abundance and scarcity in the digital age. (Runs 15:57)
You know that something has cultural clout when it becomes a verb. ("What was that TV show in the 80s with Scott Bakula?" "I don't know man, just Google it!") But does that convenient access to information come with a price? Siva Vaidhyanathan thinks so. His new book is The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry). Siva cautions Nora that we're getting a little too comfortable with the world as Google presents it, and touches on McLuhan's media law, "What does the medium turn into when pushed to extremes?" (Runs 9:50)
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