Participation & Asphyxiation

In his highly-quotable, rarely understood and seminal work, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan distinguishes early on between what he calls "hot" and "cold" media, which are, respectively "high" and "low" definition.  A hot, high-definition medium is low in participation, while the colder and the lower-definition a medium is, the deeper our participation in it must be: that …

Modernism, Ultramodernism, and Postmodernism

The terms "modernism" and "postmodernism" are very frequently abused.  As all terms of culture, they admit a wide variety of predications: were you to compare two things called "modern" or "postmodern" side-by-side, the connection may not be immediately evident, except that very probably they would both be ugly: regardless of whether they are architecture, sculpture, …

Language and Thinking

We take our instruments, our technologies--those artefactual extensions of our practically-oriented capacities--for granted.  This is true most of all of our particular languages--those delimited, structured, historically-developed systems of verbal articulation recorded and regulated by dictionaries and grammar textbooks--which we seldom think of as technology at all.  No technology receives as much use; though, like all …