Lecture 7 Jan. 31.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
St. Michael's College Courses
Francesco Guardiani

SMC219 – Lecture January 31, 2011 Xerox pg. 41 “The New Middle Ages” - Application of theories - Most generic application of McLuhan’s theory Medievalism Roberto Vacca: engineer, futurist as a writer, wrote on “What to expect in the future” belonged to association of prophecies in terms of what social life will be in a few years. - Not at level of McLuhan in terms of scope/theory but similar with future projections - Big difference: for Vacca some principles can be pushed to the extreme until they become self-destructive, remains modernist till the end/ the world is the same and developments lead to self-destruction - McLuhan- focuses on the flip, and notices that a certain society will flip, the world we are getting into is radically different from the past Terminology New Middle Ages- Post-modern: current period – prior was antiquity Middle Ages- started at the collapse of the Roman Empire (476) in between, in between classical times and the Renaissance (re-birth) McLuhan spoke of a cyclical development of human civilization, saying we had periodical times, new renaissance every hundred years… Renaissance art- the period that ended the Middle Ages - What is in the middle?= Dark Ages- dark because prior the time was “bright” and before middle ages, Roman Empire/ Republic, Greek and Roman Civilization – collapse of Roman Empire followed by Dark Ages (myriad of languages, no central power, confusion) followed by something similar to Roman Empire which was Carolingian Revolutions - End of Middle Ages corresponds to Renaissance- rebirth of communication - Reappearance of city-states - Expressions carry negative connotation we have taken for granted - McLuhan does not believe Dark Ages are really negative, there is a perception of the world in tune with human physical abilities and psyche o Middle ages are based on “oral culture”- works by communicating through speech + the manuscript which is considered an oral medium – recording principles/systems – writing was initially understood as encapsulating the sound so when you read you re-create that sound, age of manuscript is also age of reading aloud - Medievalism is opposed to Classicism and re-issue of Classicism (Renaissance) - Coming of the Dark Ages- by Robert Vacca is based on a simple mathematical equation. He says if we use this much oxygen to make a car work, we first break the system (the system that is our own social life organized like a big mechanical organism – if banks go bad we have consequences everywhere) – if this happens we are in the Dark Ages- Dark Ages are coming- to go back to a more mechanical world would be safe. McLuhan comes in and says those arguments are not good enough in an environment in which mechanical calculations do not apply because we enter a world where not governed by just mechanical technology. The mechanical ones create mechanical damages thus hard to ruin an environment with technology that does not have impact on physical world like mechanical. - McLuhan- form of life- new values of humanism that is a kin to humanism of first civilizations - Pg. 49 “We are back in acoustic space” – Counterblast (1969) Marshall McLuhan – he calls it counterblast and says the acoustic space opposed to visual is the symbolic expression of the new civilization based on a different perception of reality coming from a multi-sensorial series of perception rather than the visual one that led to the mechanical civilization - Pg. 50 – tribal scene we are returning to? – McLuhan- everyone is in a circle- as if the new symbolic geometry had changed opposed to the triangle (Expression of the hierarchical structure in society in which everyone has a role but no one has multiplicity of rules) – another form of relating to authority- leader relates directly to each element of society- father figure: leader, personality that somewhat encompasses body of entire society- tribal dimension of new society well illustrated by picture 1304- birth of the first humanist Petrarch Pg. 47 “Cultural effects of print” – Democratization of culture - Democracy – a value like justice? Or not? Or just a temporary form devised? - All these things will be flipped once we move to acoustic space A final question: -- way of criticizing our own process of making history, we have chosen in our recorded history to say we are more like them. To call the Middle Ages, middle ages or dark ages is to say something bad happened. The age in between- appears more stable, could be seen as more stable in comparison. Chapter 5 – Biagi “Copyrights” / Recordings – Demanding Choices - Artistic creativity has been linked to performance - Something with the recording of printing and then recording – repeating a performance - Production of this new recorded product turned into a commercial product - Until late 1700s if you wanted to become a writer- you could easily copy books – it was not a crime - Most common book: encyclopaedia- cut and paste – most quoted source: Aristotle – many cross
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