To reflect on the enduring influence of Marshall McLuhan and the relevance of his theories to this year’s CONTACT festival, Canadian artists Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby were commissioned to create site-specific works at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. As the framework of the installation they drew from Marshall McLuhan’s book Through the Vanishing Point: Space in Poetry and Painting (coauthored by Harley Parker), 1968, which explores the way electronic media fragments the homogenous experience of space.

From 1963 until his death in 1980, McLuhan conducted his groundbreaking research on the nature of communication, media and technology at this site, which is commonly known as the Coach House. Presenting two separate but complementary works, the artists visually and aurally reconstruct McLuhan’s presence here. Rokeby’s installation maps archival photographs and video into the space of the seminar room. Kaye’s on-site and podcast sound compositions use archival recordings to animate the history and aurality of the building. Working with McLuhan’s ideas about acoustic and visual space, the artists recreate the atmosphere of his Monday night seminars.

Lewis Kaye has a longstanding fascination with interplay of sound, space, and technology. His solo work often explores the aurality of everyday spaces, and he has contributed soundscape compositions to video, installations and performance projects. He recently completed a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at York University in Toronto, where he currently resides.

David Rokeby lives in Toronto and works with interactive and time-based media. Several of his works have addressed issues of digital surveillance, while others have engaged in critical examination of the differences between human and artificial intelligence. Rokeby has exhibited and lectured extensively in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Recent projects include a massive kinetic sculpture for the Ontario Science Centre, and a 400 foot long sculpture in Brookfield Place, Toronto for Luminato 2009.

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein.

Presented in partnership with the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, Coach House Institute, Faculty of Information, UofT.

Through The Vanishing Point Podcasts

The podcast component of Lewis Kaye’s work can be downloaded from this page. These three podcast files are designed for both the Coach House installation and stand-alone listening. Please press the play button below each track name to listen immediately or if you would like to save the podcast to your computer right click on the DOWNLOAD link and save the mp3 files to your preferred local folder. You can listen to these files on any sound system, but because they use binaural recordings they are best experienced with headphones, ideally with your portable MP3 player under the six-channel sound installation at the Coach House itself.


Download [11.1 MB]

McLuhan and Parker At The Vanishing Point

Download [11.9MB]

Monday Night Seminar Space

Download [9.6MB]