Robert Bean, Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby

Robert Bean, Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby

Canadian Cultural Centre

Robert Bean “Monotype,” 2010.
Photography, 40×61 cm.

September 27, 2011

Illuminated Manuscripts
Robert Bean
30 September–16 November 2011

Curator: Bonnie Rubenstein

29 September, 6pm

Canadian Cultural Centre
5 rue de Constantine
75007 Paris, France
Opening hours:
Monday–Friday, 10am–6pm
Thursday, 10 am–7pm

+ 33 1 44 43 21 90

The Canadian Cultural Centre presents, from September 30 to November 16, two multimedia exhibitions dedicated to Marshall McLuhan, showing a new technological portrayal turned into the future about this major intellectual figure of the 20th century.

2011 marks the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth. Born July 21, 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta, McLuhan became a literary and media icon of extraordinary renown; no figure is more universally associated with the rise of media, information, and our transformation into a digital society. Every passing year, relentless changes in the world deepen our appreciation of the power and scope of his vision.

The School of Communication at the University of Toronto was for a time a crucial intellectual centre and the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, commonly known as the “Coach House”, was a hotbed of ideas. From 1963 until his death in 1980, McLuhan conducted his groundbreaking research on the nature of communication, media and technology at the “Coach House.” At seminars held there on Monday evenings, he refined his ideas and made cross-disciplinary leaps and connections. In attendance were artists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. They shared a common understanding that the mediated world requires analysis of the most fundamental epistemic, ontological and metaphysical assumptions.

Through the Vanishing Point
Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby

To reflect on the enduring significance of Marshall McLuhan and the relevance of his theories, Canadian artists Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby were commissioned to create site-specific works at the “Coach House” for the Photography Festival in Toronto CONTACT 2010: Pervasive Influence. As the framework of the installation they drew from Marshall McLuhan’s book Through the Vanishing Point: Space in Poetry and Painting (coauthored by Harley Parker), 1968, which explores the way electronic media fragments the homogenous experience of space.

Presenting two separate but complementary works in the exhibition Through the Vanishing Point, Kaye and Rokeby aurally and visually reconstruct McLuhan’s presence. Working with his ideas about acoustic and visual space, the artists recreate the atmosphere of McLuhan’s legendary Monday night seminars. Kaye and Rokeby have adapted the exhibition for a site-specific installation at the Canadian Cultural Centre.

Lewis Kaye’s six-channel sound composition uses archival recordings of the seminars—audience murmurs, discussions as well as interviews—to evoke McLuhan and the history and aurality of the atmosphere at the “Coach House.” David Rokeby’s multi screen projection features images sourced from archival photographs and video recordings of McLuhan’s seminars, personal life, television appearances and public lectures.

Commissioned by the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology of the Faculty of Information Coach House Institute, University of Toronto.

Illuminated Manuscripts
Robert Bean

To commemorate the iconic visionary Marshall McLuhan and celebrate the centenary of his birth, Canadian artist Robert Bean was commissioned to create a site-specific exhibition in McLuhan’s former seminar room at the Coach House for CONTACT 2011: Figure + Ground.

Illuminated Manuscripts is a project about writing, archives and photography. It emphasizes the figure/ground relationship that is physically inscribed on the surface of Marshall McLuhan’s documents and manuscripts. Bean contextualizes McLuhan’s writing process within a framework of obsolete electronic technologies. He presents a selection of recent photographs of objects in the collection of the Canadian Science and Technology Museum—such as the telegraph, dictaphone, and typewriter—alongside new video works that animate 100 of McLuhan’s original documents from the collection of the Library and Archives Canada.

Organized by the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, McLuhan100, the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology of the Faculty of Information Coach House Institute, University of Toronto.

Robert Bean, Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby
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Canadian Cultural Centre
September 27, 2011

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