n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Lessons in retrospect : a McLuhan reading of the controversy surrounding Michael Elion's (2014)

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



This article explores the convoluted debate and spaces of intersection between Michael Elion's recent public art installation, (2014) and its subsequent defacement by The Tokolos Stencil Collective. This article employs the media-orientated lens of Marshall McLuhan's work (1964). The application of McLuhan's work in present-day Cape Town allows for a more dialogical understanding, and sheds light on why Elion's work was controversial even before it had any meaning attached to it. This 'technique of insight ... is necessary for media study, since no medium has its meaning or existence alone, but only in constant interplay with other media' (McLuhan 1964:26). This article considers the contention around both before and after the 'attack', in order to better understand the dynamics at play. Lastly, McLuhan's ideas are used as a lens through which to understand the dialogical, yet unseen, forces at play.

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