Professor Angela Washko Exhibits in “Feedback: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts” at West Den Haag in the Netherlands

Exploding out of the wreckage of World War II, the early cyberneticists Norbert Wiener and Claude Shannon sketched out a future where even thinking could be automated. In the electronic information of global instantaneous mass-communication of the satellite and TV age, Marshall McLuhan saw the end of the rational tradition of enlightenment Humanism, and the emergence of a “Global Village” and “Global Theatre” where people would be caught up in their interconnectivity and develop new social art forms.

The pace of technological transformation, automation and globalization has resulted in massive human migration, precaritization, displacement and new transitional modes of existence. The Internet, built to maintain command and control of the US military in an extreme emergency has become a commercialized infrastructure where unprecedented new forms of communication and exchange are emerging. Publics are formed and dissolved algorithmically according to need, no longer at the level of opinion or knowledge, but according to advanced social cybernetics of politics and the advertising economy. The medium is the message.

Feedback is the second in a series of projects (first was Without Firm Ground, Flusser and the Arts, March 2006), which explore the potential for a synthesis of philosophy and theory in works of arts to fathom and understand the accelerating pace of social transformation brought on by technological and scientific progress. The exhibition is on view through November 19.