Film: McLuhan's Message, Watershed, Bristol, until October 30 2011
In a Playboy interview during the less notorious days of the periodical back in 1969, Marshall McLuhan cut a prophetic philosopher.
He spoke of the "consciousness of the unconscious" humanity was being driven towards by electronic media, envisioning technology as "an extension of our own bodies" in an "age of anxiety".
"Man must, as a simple survival strategy, become aware of what is happening to him despite the attendant pain of such comprehension," he rather grimly added.
Timed to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday, Watershed tunes in to the man who coined the terms "global village" and "surfing" through films including Picnic in Space, the rarely-seen 1967 work where he lies in a field in Canada cogitating on film, space, jazz and the electronic media he had such vivid visions of.
"Clearly McLuhan had great insight," says Simon Poulter, the artist who has curated this season.
"He was saying that it will not all be a happy state of affairs in the wired Global Village. His theme of extension resonates strongly today, when social media such as Twitter are utilised as media extensions of self, whether by protesters during the Arab Spring or by police forces in order to restore public order during the riots in London.
"The medium in this case is the message. Personally, I've long held a passion for McLuhan and I'm very excited to be able to explore his legacy in this Watershed season."
Head of Programmes Mark Cosgrove calls McLuhan "the original media guru." "He radically changed the way we think about technology and culture, and while his most famous phrases – the 'Medium is the Message' and 'Global Village' – are now very much part of our common language, there was so much more to this original and influential thinker.
"At Watershed we will explore his ideas in relation to the ongoing digital explosion, and measure his impact on today's culture and ideas."
- Visit www.watershed.co.uk/mcluhan for full season.