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Anne Wagner, University of California, Berkeley, Art History

Video as Messenger




March 17, 2003; 5 Minutes; Video


Prof. Wagner's talk will revisit Marshall Mcluhan's understanding of media: in particular, his mythical notion of social change as sensory change. She will consider Mcluhan's anchoring of history to transformations of the media on which western civilization has been progressively dependent. What is particularly interesting in this context is McLuhan's idea that media exact a bodily toll: their transformation both wound and provoke numbness as the relations of the human sensorium undergo what McLuhan (euphemistically) terms "extension." With these ideas in mind, the talk will offer a reconsideration of early video as it understands the abuses that the body and the senses suffer via contemporary mediations, where both the artist's experiences and those of the viewer are clearly in play.