The Extensions of Woman at the McLuhan Centre 2017/2018
This year the McLuhan Centre will bring together a renowned group of feminist media and technology scholars to examine our annual theme MsUnderstanding Media: The Extensions of Woman. This year-long thematic takes inspiration from Marshall McLuhan’s formative insight that the Medium is the Message while allowing us to critically examine the notion that media are “extensions of man.” We plan to foreground how a feminist focus on “the extensions of woman” renews McLuhan’s concern with the politics of pace, pattern and scale in our everyday technological objects. Some of McLuhan’s famous examples were the automobile and the gun which were extensions of feet and fists. We will consider a different set of media, those seen (incubator and breast-pump) unseen (software, networks, clouds) and those which provide new architectures of everyday life (man caves, cuddle cafes, co-working spaces). MsUnderstanding Media suggests that specific bodies, rhythms, and power dynamics are part of the message of every medium.
“The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.” – (Understanding Media)
“The wheel is an extension of the foot, the book is an extension of the eye clothing, an extension of the skin, electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system” – (The Medium is The Massage)
Natasha Dow Schull