Synopses & Reviews
Always connectand#8212;that is the imperative of todayand#8217;s media. But what about those moments when media cease to function properly, when messages go beyond the sender and receiver to become excluded from the world of communication itselfand#8212;those messages that state: and#8220;There will be no more messagesand#8221;? In this book, Alexander R. Galloway, Eugene Thacker, and McKenzie Wark turn our usual understanding of media and mediation on its head by arguing that these moments reveal the ways the impossibility of communication is integral to communication itselfand#8212;instances they call excommunication. and#160;In three linked essays, Excommunicationand#160;pursues this elusive topic by looking at mediation in the face of banishment, exclusion, and heresy, and by contemplating the possibilities of communication with the great beyond. First, Galloway proposes an original theory of mediation based on classical literature and philosophy, using Hermes, Iris, and the Furies to map out three of the most prevalent modes of mediation todayand#8212;mediation as exchange, as illumination, and as network. Then, Thacker goes boldly beyond Gallowayand#8217;s classification scheme by examining the concept of excommunication through the secret link between the modern horror genre and medieval mysticism. Charting a trajectory of examples from H. P. Lovecraft to Meister Eckhart, Thacker explores those instances when one communicates or connects with the inaccessible, dubbing such modes of mediation and#8220;hauntedand#8221; or and#8220;weirdand#8221; to underscore their inaccessibility. Finally, Wark evokes the poetics of the infuriated swarm as a queer politics of heresy that deviates from both media theory and the traditional left. He posits a critical theory that celebrates heresy and that is distinct from those that now venerate Saint Paul.and#160;Reexamining commonplace definitions of media, mediation, and communication, Excommunicationand#160;offers a glimpse into the realm of the nonhuman to find a theory of mediation adequate to our present condition.
This reissue of Understanding Media
marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.
There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT's Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.
This reissue marks the 30th anniversary (1964-1994) of McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the emerging phenomenon of mass media. In a new introduction, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of the century.
Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.
About the Author
and#160;Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of media studies at New York University and lives in New York, NY. He is the author of four books on digital media and critical theory, most recently The Interface Effect.and#160;McKenzie Wark is professor of liberal studies at The New School for Social Research and lives in Queens, NY. His books include A Hacker Manifesto and Gamer Theory.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Execrable MediaAlexander R. Galloway, Eugene Thacker, McKenzie Warkand#160;Love of the MiddleAlexander R. Gallowayand#160;Dark MediaEugene Thackerand#160;
Furious MediaMcKenzie Wark