Through the Vanishing Point


Installation, sound - music, mixed media, video

Through the Vanishing Point

Past: September 30 → November 16, 2011

The Canadian cultural centre presents, two multimedia exhibitions dedicated to Marshall McLuhan, showing a new technological portrayal turned into the future about this major intellectual figure of the 20th century.

2011 marks the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth. Born July 21, 1911 in Edmonton, Alberta, McLuhan became a literary and media icon of extraordinary renown; no figure is more universally associated with the rise of media, information, and our transformation into a digital society. Every passing year, relentless changes in the world deepen our appreciation of the power and scope of his vision.

The School of Communication at the University of Toronto was for a time a crucial intellectual centre and the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, commonly known as the “Coach House”, was a hotbed of ideas. From 1963 until his death in 1980, McLuhan conducted his groundbreaking research on the nature of communication, media and technology at the “Coach House”. At seminars held there on Monday evenings, he refined his ideas and made cross-disciplinary leaps and connections. In attendance were artists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. They shared a common understanding that the mediated world requires analysis of the most fundamental epistemic, ontological and metaphysical assumptions.

To reflect on the enduring significance of Marshall McLuhan and the relevance of his theories, Canadian artists Lewis Kaye and David Rokeby were commissioned to create site-specific works at the “Coach House” for the Photography Festival in Toronto Contact 2010: Pervasive Influence. 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.

Presenting two separate but complementary works in the exhibition Through the Vanishing Point, Kaye and Rokeby aurally and visually reconstruct McLuhan’s presence. Working with his ideas about acoustic and visual space, the artists recreate the atmosphere of McLuhan’s legendary Monday night seminars. Kaye and Rokeby have adapted the exhibition for a site-specific installation at the Canadian Cultural Centre.

Lewis Kaye’s six channel sound composition uses archival recordings of the seminars-audience murmurs, discussions as well as interviews—to evoke McLuhan and the history and aurality of the atmosphere at the “Coach House”. David Rokeby’s multi screen projection features images sourced from archival photographs and video recordings of McLuhan’s seminars, personal life, television appearances and public lectures.

Lewis Kaye

Lewis Kaye has a deep fascination with the interplay between sound, technology and culture, an interest expressed through both critical enquiry and creative practice. His projects explore, adapt and transform recordings of sound environments and have been presented in various artistic forms. He often works in collaboration with visual or performance artists. His major solo works include You are here, commissioned as the official guide podcast for the City of Toronto’s first Nuit Blanche in 2006 and Toronto Transit Soundspace, a mobile sound art project. Lewis Kaye is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo (Ontario), where he teaches courses on sound, alternative media and digital culture.

David Rokeby

David Rokeby has been creating interactive sound and video installations with computers since 1982. His early work, Very Nervous System (1982-1991), was presented at the Venice Biennale in 1986. His works Watch (1995), Taken (2002) and Sorting Daemon (2003) address issues of digital surveillance. Other works engage in a critical examination of the differences between human and artificial intelligence. Rokeby’s installations have been exhibited extensively in the Americas, Europe and Asia and he has been featured in several retrospectives. He was awarded a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2002. He also represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2002 and at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 2004.

  • Opening Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 5 PM

    Rencontre avec les artistes anglophones sur réservation, à partir de 17h

  • Opening Thursday, September 29, 2011 6 PM → 8:30 PM

    Vernissage public — entrée libre

07 Paris 7 Zoom in 07 Paris 7 Zoom out

5, rue de Constantine

75007 Paris

T. 01 44 43 21 90 — F. 01 44 43 21 99

Official website

Assemblée Nationale

Opening hours

Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM

Admission fee

Free entrance

The artists

  • Lewis Kaye
  • David Rokeby