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© The Estate of Marshall McLuhan

Events during the McLuhan Year 2011

2011 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Marshall McLuhan. There are various special events and projects taking place in Canada, Germany, Europe and world wide in commemoration of this event.

In Cooperation with the Embassy of Canada and the Marshall McLuhan Salon, the cultural network project McLuhan in Europe 2011 explores, critiques and celebrates McLuhan’s impact on European art, media and culture through a series of manifestations to occur in various locations, contexts and time frames throughout the Centenary year. 


McLuhan Centennial Weekend 2011, May 27-29

Photo: Katrina James

On May 27-29, the Canadian Embassy in Berlin hosted the McLuhan Centennial Weekend 2011, the largest among a year-long European series of events to mark the centennial of the birth of Marshall McLuhan. The place was all-McLuhan over three days with two conferences, a student exhibition, an installation and a live performance.

The events attracted more than 500 on-site participants, in addition to 115 off-site internationally through live on-line streaming and discussions.

Partnerships with the transmediale festival, the German-Canadian Society and Research in Motion among others, and contributions from Understanding Canada, the Embassy in Berlin facilitated these events. 


See highlights from the Marshall McLuhan Centennial Weekend 2011 in this video by konzept.autoren


‘Re-touching McLuhan – The Medium is the Massage’ Conference

How does this media and telecommunications visionary shape our political perception of media? During the Re-touching McLuhan conference, experts from various fields explored how to apply McLuhan’s concepts to a strengthened sense of human rights and freedom of expression based on the today's fundamental precepts of digital mobility, open technologies and collaborative networks.

Photo: Katrina James

An overflow audience of 280 people attended the opening keynote by Prof. Richard Cavell, author of ‘McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography’ who explored the relationship between tactility and the digital.

Taking a tour from what relevance does McLuhan have in describing and understanding computing today by looking at contemporary art dealing with media, the examination of his most important insights into the interplay between media and the senses, including the notion of acoustic space, and his famous assumption that technology extends our central nervous system directly into the various social systems, the Canadian and German conference speakers reflected on McLuhan’s founding concept of tactility in the context of its time and relevance to our media society today. Both, participants on site and online, vividly discussed the current subject. 

Video excerpts from the conference

McLuminations - McLuhan vs. McLuhan: The optimist and the monitor, a speculative encounter

Photo: Katrina JamesPhoto: Katrina James

The Embassy’s Marshall McLuhan Salon houses an extensive archive of video documentation and original broadcasts featuring Marshall McLuhan. McLuminations, the first of a special series of three ‘illuminated screening’ events during the McLuhan Centennial year, gave a unique introduction to McLuhan’s work and ideas generated by these documents. Moderated by Baruch Gottlieb, noted McLuhanist Derrick de Kerckhove and Berlin McLuhan scholar Steffi Winkler extrapolated from the documentary material what McLuhan might have to say about our current media and discussed questions picked up from the ‘Re-touching McLuhan’ conference.

Video excerpt on vimeo & more info

The second McLuminations event will take place at the Embassy in October, please check our event calendar to register for this event.


Through the Vanishing Point exhibition by David Rokeby and Lewis Kaye

Photo: Katrina James

Photo: Katrina James

The Embassy’s Marshall McLuhan Salon served once again as an exhibition venue for the multimedia installation ‘Through the Vanishing Point’, the European premiere of a multi-media view into Coach House, Marshall McLuhan’s legendary academic headquarters. David Rokeby’s multi screen projection features images sourced from archival photographs and video recordings of McLuhan’s Monday night seminars, personal life, television appearances and public lectures. 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. The exhibition was open from May 29 until July 8, 2011.

Performance by DJ Spooky - ‘The Medium is the Massage’ audio release

Photo: Katrina James

On the opening evening, the McLuhan Centennial Weekend featured a record release party of McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage audio re-issue, a live performance and re-mix of the 1968 audio recording of the book by the experimental and electronic hip-hop musician, conceptual artist, and writer, Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky in the Embassy’s Timber Hall.


‘Play McLuhan’ exhibition by students from the University of Darmstadt, under the direction of Prof. Sabine Breitsameter

Photo: Katrina James

Seven art pieces which showed the students’ individual appropriation of McLuhan through audiovisual objects and settings were exhibited in the Marshall McLuhan Salon and the public spaces of the Embassy. Over 90 guests attended its vernissage as part of the McLuhan Centennial Weekend. The works of the students were highly appreciated by all participants.

Link to ‘Play McLuhan’ publication


German Canadian Professionals Conference ‘’Global Village – Calamity or Chance?”

The 2nd German Canadian Professionals Conference (GCPC) organized in collaboration with the German-Canadian Society (DKG) was attended by 80 people. The conference aimed at making McLuhan accessible to a wider audience and experts such as Brian Lee Crowley, Linus Neumann and Gundolf S. Freyermuth presented their views on the term ‘global village’ in three distinct fields of interest: economic globalization, the emergence of a world wide web and the development of contemporary cinema in a digitalised world.






McLuhan Centennial Events
in Europe calendar


McLuhan Centennial Events
in Europe video archive