Lecture 4 Jan. 19.docx

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St. Michael's College Courses
Francesco Guardiani

SMC219 – Wednesday January 19, 2011 Xerox pg. 18-26 Media attributes- elements of description -- Define attributes In order to define a medium – we look for categories responding to attributes Media can be soft or hard (two attributes that reflect what we say about human creations) Electronic – robotics New and old categories – typography is new – telephone is old – relative categories Cool and hot – two attributes - relative confines… Cool and Hot- McLuhan used these categories. He said the cool pertains to all the media that are undefined and demand a higher level of participation as opposed to media that are hot and highly defined and demand a lesser level of participation. Ex: Radio participation is less; do not necessarily need a response vs. the telephone which is a cooler medium because it demands more participation Ex. The book is very hot- the book is highly defined, does not require a lot of participation, everything is there, so the level of participation is demanded in an absolute amount, it is fixed… the participation of the cool media is more electronic which means increase in participation Television requires higher level of participation, computer requires even higher Cool and hot – electronic media- which one is more modern? Helps us understand- the cooler one is more soft, new, dull, generic… Two families of attributes- when together seen opposing- indicate the two major media we will study in this course – Printing press (mechanical) and electronic media Mechanical- hard, old, sharp, specialized, hot, modern Electronic- soft, new, dull, generic, cool, postmodern  Old vs. new media – The Rear-view Mirror Syndrome by McLuhan - Since we are where we are, our judgement is linked to what our mind acquires th - Linguistic examples- horseless carriage- late 18 hundreds – there was no word for car so the expression “horseless carriage” was something that linked the new creation to something people knew – horse carriage. - When the car appears as a new medium, with the rear-view mirror syndrome we have no idea what a highway can be or a drive way may be or what suburban settlements can be… so what happens when the speed at which the implications become so much that we cannot grasp new reality.. it is like living in the past- new tension can develop - Rear-view mirror syndrome is basically not a disease, it is just a way that we have in order to recognize and accept our reality but it also indicates that these changes need to be studied in their own families - Media are not to be understood individually but rather as families making the same kind of changes- the old and the new. *Progress -In the evolution of media- we find a straight line of one faster than the other Mechanical- electronic- new value of attributes Rear-view syndrome- big jump- old culture radically different from the new… The family of media- old and the new resonate differently in different cultures Printing press- 1450 where? New- old need to always be considered in relative terms- rear-view syndrome depending on what is new and old in time Cool and Hot depend on the level of participation Understanding Media- an Extension of Man 1964 by McLuhan – distinction between mechanical and electronic – the last chapter is devoted to computers but word not used so used “automation” television was called “the sleeping giant” – a medium that would become big- what he predicted. But the television was the quintessential cool medium. This was because of the connection to the physiology of the brain, how the brain registers images on the screen. – Instinct – makes it cool medium – cool quintessential medium but the notion of the coolness went to all other elements. For instance, if it is a cool medium and requires a certain amount of participation it will not work well with a hot image. If t.v is a cool medium, it requires a cool phase, the interpretive phase needs to be one not highly defined. And so he envisions something that has gigantic implications in politics, the cool phase produces the iconic preferred. Highly defined characters are triumphant on print. Print is a hot medium, need a hot phase because television destroys anything highly defined. Comics are cool – because they give hints, children prefer undefined Electronic environment- more cool participants- demands higher level of participation CBC Video by Marshall McLuhan – there are no stars on TV, you have tv personalities, but no stars, the medium does not allow for that hot stuff – too hot a character Nixon had no corporate image- simply private – he needed charisma- needed to look like other nice people – he looked too much like Nixon – Who would do well in Canadian politics? The ones who will not be re-elected lack charisma Trudeau had charisma Joe Clark- baby face Churchill- baby face Woody Allen film – talks about McLuhan – McLuhan public figure BBC – Try the McGurk Effect- Horizon - Is Seeing Believing – “Bark” an illusion known as the McGurk Effect- what you see clashes with what you hear- what we see can influence what we hear- the effect works no matter how much you know about it – shows us what we hear may not always be the true- shows what happens when our senses conflict. Brain tries to make sense of conflict… we cannot always trust what we hear because sometimes our sense of vision takes over… Hot and Cool- McLuhan video - Notion of the undefined phase or the phase that is no
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