Traces of McLuhan—A Media Sprint at the Marshall McLuhan Salon

Christina Kral —  October 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

mcluhan

As part of our case study series, the Hybrid Publishing Consortium is organizing a closed, one-day media sprint using material from the McLuhan Archive (hosted at the Canadian embassy in Berlin), as well as documentation from the McLuhan Centennial ‘Re-Touching McLuhan’ conference.

Inspired by book sprints, we are using the same model of speedy production. Yet, instead of producing a book, we’ll be focusing on experimental visualizations that trace a user’s approach to the archive, crisscrossing through various media formats.

The media sprint will focus on the hidden parts of archives—the visitors journey through an archive, hence our title ‘Traces of McLuhan’. The event will look at a variety of ways to make these use-pathways visible and manifest as publishing resources or a publishing form itself. Besides exploring ways of making those trails visible, there is also question how those trails can become useful for other users. For example being stored and becoming part of the archive—as a meta-publication layer.

We will record the traces of a user’s activity and annotations of an archive. Related to the archive we have access to two components: Firstly, the existing documentation of McLumination events and secondly, the multi-media content provided by the McLuhan Salon. The essays will be used as a starting point or lens through which to interpret the archive’s collection and vice versa.

We will use four software authoring tools to create an experimental digital object/trace over the day long media sprint. First, Pandora, a video archiving software package. Second the Hybrid Publishing Lab’s own software ecology, A-machine, for textual markup. Third, Tamboti, from the Heidelberg Research Architecture for meta description frameworks. And lastly freizo from Data Futures a migration platform. The combined package will allow for speedy annotation, combination of text and video, as well as a meta description data output.

While participants will trace search and trains of thought, creating an extra layer on the archive, we’ll investigate how McLuhan is relevant today and how his work is used. We hope to challenge the established use of an archive as well as known publication formats, which is a perfect fit for McLuhan.

The case study is one of four studies that sits under the umbrella theme of ‘Designing the Book of the Future’. The theme represents the ambitions of our research to enhance the technology of Moveable Type and move beyond the industry pressures to make simple copies of the book form, such as the eBook.

The project is in partnership with the McLuhan Salon (Canadian Embassy, Berlin) and Data Futures project is based in the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture (Westminster University, UK), r0g_agency gGmbH, Cluster Asia Europe – Heidelberg Research Architecture – Heidelberg University.

The event will take place at the end of November and is closed to the public. We will share our discoveries on consortium.io

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