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Light Industry Presents: This Is Marshall McLuhan. Tonight at the New Museum

By Rhizome

Tonight's New Silent Series Event at the New Museum, 7:00PM

Light Industry Presents: This Is Marshall McLuhan
Part of Rhizome’s New Silent Series

This Is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium Is the Massage
Ernest Pintoff, 16mm, 1967, 54 mins, courtesy of Pratt Institute
Introduced by Alex Kitnick

August 11, 2011, 7:00 PM

$8 Members, $10 General Public

This Is Marshall McLuhan: The Medium Is the Massage premiered in 1967 as one of the first installments of “NBC Experiment in Television,” an innovative series of Sunday-afternoon cultural programs that would later include such diverse offerings as an animated special by Harold Pinter, Jim Henson’s live-action teleplay The Cube, and extended profiles of figures like writer Scholem Aleichem, cartoonist Al Capp, and architectural visionary Buckminster Fuller. McLuhan’s episode appeared at the height of his notoriety within popular consciousness: 1967 also saw the publication of McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s book The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects, the fourth issue of Aspen magazine edited by McLuhan and Fiore, and an LP recording of The Medium Is the Massage released by Columbia Records.

An attempt to articulate McLuhan's ideas through the language of one of his paradigmatic subjects—television—This Is Marshall McLuhan intersperses observations by McLuhan himself with commentary from art-world figures like gallerist Ivan Karp, artists Malcolm Morley and Allan Kaprow, and Museum of Modern Art curator Inez Garson. As if to illustrate McLuhan’s dictum that “all media work us over completely,” these remarks are punctuated by rapid-fire montages of pop culture and the avant-garde, mixing performances by Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman, go-go girls, stand-up comedians, and Madison Avenue’s most countercultural ads into a Laugh-In-era attempt at televisual information overload. An evocative dispatch from a moment when culture's relationship to media was in a state of profound transition, this rarely-screened film continues to resonate with our contemporary situation, its new technologies and their inventories of effects.

Alex Kitnick is a writer and curator based in New York. He edited the most recent issue of October (136). This past winter he curated the exhibition Massage at Andrew Roth.

Light Industry is a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York founded by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter. For the past several months, they have been organizing an ongoing series of events across the city while preparing to move into their new space, which opens in September.


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OMEGA DAY Aug. 11 2011 12:33Reply

Though not the first to analyze dreams, he is one of the best known pioneers in the field of dream analysis. While he was a fully involved and practicing clinician, much of his life's work was spent exploring tangential areas, including Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemyastrology, and sociology, as well as literature and the arts; all of which were extremely productive in regard to the symbols and processes of the human psyche, found in dreams and other entries to the unconscious.

OMEGA DAY Aug. 11 2011 13:23Reply

Zen your now. Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome another experience.
It won’t always be easy. Sometimes you’ll feel compelled to attach yourself physically and mentally to people and ideas—as if it gives you some sense of control or security. You may even strongly believe you’ll be happy if you struggle to hold onto what you have. That’s OK. It’s human nature.
Just know you have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy: with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace and love.
The most important question: what do you choose right now?

Rachel Howard Aug. 11 2011 13:45Reply

Why do people try to discredit and devalue the people they're jealousy of?

Rachel Howard Aug. 11 2011 13:50Reply

Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid. After all I’ve not been free in so long. But,’ he said, ‘when I felt that anger well up inside of me I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate then they would still have me.’ And he smiled and said, ‘I wanted to be free so I let it go.’ It was an astonishing moment in my life. It changed me.
If I hated them after I got outside that gate then they would still have me.

Rachel Howard Aug. 11 2011 14:04Reply

are among the most distinctive in contemporary art, a symbol that is recognized universally, cutting across boundaries of culture and language.