Flash, Spirit, Plex, Stretch: A Trans-Disciplinary View of the Media Sensorium

Authors

  • Rhonda N. McEwen University of Toronto

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2019v44n4a3727

Keywords:

Sensorium, Cognition, Devices / Sensorium, Dispositifs

Abstract

Background This article takes a transdisciplinary view of the media sensorium by applying humanities, social science, and engineering perspectives to the relationships among sensory perception, cognition, and how people come to understand their worlds through the senses.

Analysis The goal of this article is to engage with the provocation that the sensorium, a concept that Marshall McLuhan brought to media studies in the 1960s, provides the lens through which we observe that communication is the expression of cognition via the combined potentiality of physiology and technology. “Sensory technologies” are used as analytical vehicles in a technological journey from the Walkman to 21st-century telecommunications. 

Conclusion and implications  The reader is given a call to action to use the full spectrum of the sensorium to locate and act on transformative contemporary processes underway.

Contexte  Cet article adopte une approche transdisciplinaire envers le sensorium médiatique en appliquant des perspectives provenant des sciences humaines, des lettres et de l’ingénierie aux rapports entre la perception sensorielle, la cognition et la manière dont nous appréhendons notre monde par les sens.

Analyse  L’article a pour but d’examiner cette idée provocatrice que le sensorium—concept que Marshall McLuhan applique aux médias dans les années 1960—nous permet d’observer comment la communication, en exploitant un potentiel à la fois physiologique et technologique, parvient à exprimer la pensée. Ainsi, les « technologies sensorielles » servent de véhicules analytiques dans un voyage technologique qui va du Walkman des années 1970 jusqu’aux télécommunications du présent siècle.

Conclusions et implications  Cet article invite le lecteur à maximiser le potentiel du sensorium afin de repérer les processus transformatifs en cours actuellement et d’agir sur eux.

Author Biography

Rhonda N. McEwen, University of Toronto

Rhonda McEwen is an assistant professor at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and is the Associate Director of Semaphore Lab at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. She can be reached at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Room 3005, 3359 Mississauga Rd North, Mississauga ON, L5L 1C6. Email: rhonda.mcewen@utoronto.ca

Published

2019-12-08