“… ‘the medium is the message’ because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.”
— Marshall McLuhan, 1964¹
The way we absorb information and communicate with one another is sometimes more important than the content itself. Since the advent of the Information Age in the mid-20th century, each new form of media, from radio and television to the Internet and social media, has filtered messages differently — omitting, distorting, censoring, selecting, organizing, and generalizing content.
The artists in this exhibition explore the internal structure of various forms of communication, exposing the strengths and weakness of these technologies. In turn, the works of art reveal that our interpretation of media is linked to personal bias, filtered by language, histories, memories, values, and beliefs.
In an era of COVID-19 and political upheaval, understanding media is paramount. We must thus remain critical, recognizing the various filters at play as we rapidly pivot in our forms of connection.
¹ Marshall McLuhan, Chapter One: “The Medium is the Message.” In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964, pg. 2: https://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf. Accessed January 18, 2021.
Filtered, installation view, Ottawa Art Gallery, 2021. Photo: Chris Snow