Mediated Memories & Nostalgic Obsolescence

I spent much of the spring 2020 early pandemic period like many other people, holed up at home binging streaming content. It’s an interval of the past two years that I recall fondly: having nowhere to go and nothing better to do than consume entire seasons or series of television. During that initial period of … Continue reading Mediated Memories & Nostalgic Obsolescence

An urban media tour of the South Side

With the weather warming up crowds have returned to the outdoor patios on my block and elsewhere along Carson Street, and I’ve recently returned to the trails and even brought my bike out of its winter hibernation (I’ve continued to be flummoxed by the pervasive road construction and sidewalk closures, however). In honor of the … Continue reading An urban media tour of the South Side

The Medium play at Pittsburgh’s City Theater

This past weekend City Theatre in Pittsburgh’s South Side began staging The Medium, a performance inspired by the work of Marshall McLuhan. The production was developed by New York-based SITI Company beginning in 1993 and was first presented at City Theatre in 1996. This means that The Medium was created during a unique moment in … Continue reading The Medium play at Pittsburgh’s City Theater

Anthropocene Imaginaries: Climate Fiction as Communication Infrastructure

Early reviews for Adam McKay’s new film Don’t Look Up are out, and they are decidedly mixed. This new movie seems to continue McKay’s trend of real-world-oriented comedies that engage with current socio-political events. McKay has transitioned from broad comedies including notable collaborations with Will Ferrell to a series of based-on-a-true-story/ripped-from-the-headlines entertainments. His films adopt … Continue reading Anthropocene Imaginaries: Climate Fiction as Communication Infrastructure

Belcourt Appreciation & Pandemic Media Memories

For the Thanksgiving break last week I visited my family in Nashville. My parents have only been in Tennessee for a few years, so there’s not much personal history connecting me to the place, but after having lived there through the first 18 months of the pandemic returning this time felt like a true homecoming. … Continue reading Belcourt Appreciation & Pandemic Media Memories

AOC invokes McLuhan with “Tax the Rich” Gala dress

Last week congresswoman and media-discourse-lightning-rod Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kicked off a firestorm of hot takes by wearing a ball gown emblazoned with the message “Tax the Rich” to this year’s Met Gala. The annual super-exclusive social event and big money fundraising soiree typically attracts buzzing commentary over its dramatic displays of eye-catching haute couture. The buzz … Continue reading AOC invokes McLuhan with “Tax the Rich” Gala dress

The MediuM: The home version of McLuhan’s maelstrom

Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad of media effects now has its own board game. Designed by Paolo Granata and his students at the University of Toronto, The MediuM gamifies McLuhan’s “laws of media.” From the promotional website: The Medium is played in teams of two or more players. With each round, one player, the Messenger, takes a … Continue reading The MediuM: The home version of McLuhan’s maelstrom

City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

Encountering Marshall McLuhan’s media theories during college was a significant influence in my decision to pursue graduate studies in communication (there were, of course, many other influencing factors...I wouldn’t want to posit a “hard determinism”). My first scholarly conference papers and academic journal publication were rooted in McLuhan and the Media Ecology tradition. When I … Continue reading City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

Interpassivity, Reaction Videos, and Emotions as Content: Why Pablo Hidalgo is (maybe) Right

Amidst all the Cyberpunk 2077 discourse over the past month-and-a-half, I was struck by the opinion expressed by gamepressure’s Michael Chwistek that the game perhaps offers more potential as an interactive movie than as an open-world RPG. The article begins thusly: “I don't like games that complete themselves. Take Telltale games, for example. I only … Continue reading Interpassivity, Reaction Videos, and Emotions as Content: Why Pablo Hidalgo is (maybe) Right

City Space as Projective Medium: From Coronavirus Quarantine to Urban Uprisings

The current confluence of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and popular political demonstrations has provided strikingly urgent examples of how city space may be actualized as a projective medium. By “projective medium” I mean to describe a repurposing of urban environments wherein public space serves as a canvas not only for the circulation of artistic representations … Continue reading City Space as Projective Medium: From Coronavirus Quarantine to Urban Uprisings