Talk: Understanding Media Today – Marshall McLuhan – By Long Now London. Thursday 30th May 2024. 18:30 to 22.00

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It’s been sixty years since Marshall McLuhan wrote his seminal work “Understanding Media”, forever changing how we think about the nature communication. His aphorisms and probes — the most famous being “the medium is the message” and “the global village” — have sunk into the collective unconscious, yet for many today he is a distant figure, even in the field of media ecology.

For a time McLuhan was spoken of alongside Newton, Einstein and Freud. A man of paradox, he was a conservative Catholic who became a counterculture icon; a historian exalted as a futurist. By the late 1970s, however, McLuhan was a forgotten figure, dismissed as unserious, a borderline crank. Yet the decades since his death have proven that his key insight and instincts were far more profound that perhaps even he realised.

Interest in him revived in the 1990s when the internet and its implications were making themselves known. In this new era of metaverses and machine minds, interest in McLuhan is again resurgent. For Marshall’s ideas weren’t just a guide to the information technologies of the 1960s; They were means of understanding the nature of any medium, be that in 1964 or 2064.

This talk by Long Now London stalwart Jamie Stantonian is a journey through the origins, development and implications of McLuhan’s worldview, and how his ideas and outlook are as fresh today as they were six decades ago.


Jamie Stantonian is an Experience Director, experimental multimedia creative, and video essayist. His main area of interest is the deep time of information technology and its impact on cognition, culture, and evolution. He has been involved with Long Now London since 2015; previously organized Long Now Dublin, and is member # 2775 of the Long Now Foundation.


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