By Janine Marchessault
(Sage Publications, 2005)
The key to any analysis of the media, always for McLuhan connected to the spaces and temporalities of the lifeworld, is a reflexive field approach. Oriented around the archival, encyclopedic, andartifactual surfaces but also “haptic harmonies” and ruptures, this method draws out patterns that render ground assumptions and matrices discernible. This was encapsulated in his most famous neologism, “the medium is message” and this is perhaps why McLuhan had a greater influence on artists than on academics.
Cosmic Media sees McLuhan as a creative researcher and an interdisciplinary thinker who is deeply connected to the Romantic tradition. McLuhan does not make art so much as he recognizes the value of art as a means to discern the production of mediated forms of consciousness. We should bear in mind that McLuhan never claimed to be anything more than “a student” immersed in the new interdisciplinary field of Media Studies that his work helped to inaugurate. Illustrated with many examples from the network society, the book will serve as a guide to anyone who wants to know why McLuhan’s work remains vital, particularly in relation to the study of new media and its environment.