Sunday, June 3, 2012

McLuhan Intersections

So, this past November I was in Toronto for the big Marshall McLuhan Centenary conference and celebration, McLuhan100 Then/Now/Next (see my previous post, McLuhan Then/Now/Next Soon), and one of the many events that took place was the McLuhan Piazza, hosted by the Italian Consulate in Toronto, and organized by University of Bologna's Elena Lamberti.  It was a bit of fun, a bit of a throwback to the 60s with drummers and extemporaneous talks, and I was very pleased to be a part of it, having been asked to be one of the participants, talking about McLuhan's context in the sixties, and also about the future.

So, one of the individuals present was the artist, Panchal Mansaram, a friend of Marshall McLuhan's, and he did some videotaping of the event, and that footage was in turn edited and turned into a short YouTube video that's worth sharing with you here on Blog Time Passing, if for no other reason than the fact that I'm a part of it, especially at the end.  It's called McLuhan Piazza - then/now/next, and here it is:

And here's the write-up on the video's YouTube page:

1st International
 Conference on McLuhan

CSI Spadina, Toronto, 
November 9, 2011

Katherine Adams, Marco Adria, Costis Dallas, 
Derrick de Kerchove, Paolo Granata, Stephen Kovatch, 
Elena Lamberti, Robert K. Logan, 
Cristina Miranda de Almeida, Peppino Ortoleva, 
Lance Strate, Dominique Scheffel Dunand, 
Yoni Van Den Eede, Eduardo Andrés Vizer
Voice of Marshall McLuhan

Video by P. Mansaram (

 I should also note that Panchal has an art show up in Canada starting tomorrow, it's called Intersection—Mansaram & McLuhan, and here is the very cool poster for it:

I am told that there will also be a show in New York City later this summer, and I'll be sure to let you know about that.  In the meantime, here is the write-up from the Ed Video Gallery:

Ed Video Gallery

Collages, paintings, and media art by P. Mansaram inspired by and in collaboration with Marshall McLuhan from 1966 to 2012

June 4-29, 2012 with Reception on Friday, June 8 at 7pm

Soon after P. Mansaram immigrated to Canada in 1966, he became friends with the influential media theorist Marshall McLuhan. A productive working relationship developed, leading to numerous collaborations on several projects. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Mansaram’s work inspired and created with McLuhan was exhibited at the Picture Loan Gallery, and he organized happenings at the eminent Isaacs Gallery in Toronto. The Rear View Mirror series of collages, collaborative paintings, films, and audio were exhibited, and later toured the Atlantic provinces and India.  This same work, along with recent projects, will be featured at Ed Video Gallery at Intersection 40 years later.

Featured will be the Rear View Mirror series of collages created between 1966 and 1972. The collection combines elements from both Eastern and Western culture, a central theme of Mansaram’s work and McLuhan’s theories.  Parallels are drawn between the hyper-vivid and frenetic culture of India and McLuhan’s ideas about the complexity and influence of mass media. Intersection also features films and videos, covers he designed for McLuhan’s books, and displays of correspondence documenting their friendship. A surround sound audio installation created from an interview Mansaram conducted with McLuhan in 1967 is the audio backdrop for the exhibition. McLuhan discusses the prevalent ideas of that time - the East’s influence on the West, the hippie movement, the psychedelic experience, and how electronic communications change our perception of time and space.  Mansaram's work captures elements of McLuhan’s prophetic ideas that continue to define and clarify our media-saturated world.

 This sounds downright amazing, as does Panchal's biography:

Panchal Mansaram - Bio and Chronology
BORN- I was born in Mount Abu. This scenic part of Rajasthan, India, is where
Maharajas built summer palaces during Colonial rule. This is also famous for special Rock Formations, and for tenth/twelfth century Delwara Jain Temples, which some think to be more beautiful than the Taj Mahal.
EDUCATION- Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, India 1954-59
1963-64, at the State Academy of Fine Arts, Amsterdam, Netherlands on a Dutch
Government Fellowship.
PRACTICE- My art practice has gone through various phases, and varieties of media, currently working in mixed-media, a special blend which I have termed as Mansa-media
1959- I created ‘Impressions from Nepal’ series (tempera on paper) shown at Jehangir Art Gallery in Bombay, for which I won first prize at the prestigious Bombay State Art Exhibition
1960- ‘Calcutta by Night’ series (oil on masonite) shown at the Artistry House in Calcutta
1966- Immigrated to Canada, where I met Marshall McLuhan and Av Isaacs
1967- Created ‘East West Intersect’, a multimedia concert at the Isaacs Gallery with
encouragement from McLuhan. I also made a five minute long 16mm film featuring Marshall McLuhan for this event
1970’s- Created a mixed media series of paintings, titled ‘Rear View Mirror’ (title
borrowed from McLuhan), including a collaborative art work with Marshall McLuhan.  This series of works were shown at the Picture Loan Gallery in Toronto in 1974, where Marshall McLuhan was the chief guest. In 1971/72, the exhibition traveled to seven galleries in the Eastern Provinces of Canada, and then to India at the Dhoomimal Art Gallery in New Delhi and Jehangir Art gallery in Mumbai in 1975
1970’s- I started working with fabric as collage medium. This eventually became mixed
media using xerography transfer, serigraph, blue prints, etc. These works were shown at the Taj Art Gallery in Mumbai, India House in New York, and Burlington Art Center, Burlington.  During this period I did pioneering work in Xerography, using black and white and colour Xerox and Blue Prints. I became member of International Society of Copier Arts in New York and contributed to their quarterly, featuring member’s creations in Xerography and bookwork.
1975- I had a collaborative exhibition titled ‘Duet’ with American artist Jim Ridlon of mixed-media blue prints on fabric and paper shown at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
1980’s- I did large format lasergraphic works, inspired by my immediate environment such as my backyard and school. I created works such as ‘Moving Landscape’ and ‘At the School Lockers’, a lasergraphic installation, and a series of works titled ‘New York-New York’ shown at the Piramal gallery in Mumbai, India. 
1992- Air India Commission- Air India commissioned me to do a series of images
on India Destinations, to be used for a series of lasergraphic art posters.
1997-2007 - ‘Art on the Rocks’, a sight specific mixed media art on rock formations in Mount Abu, India.
2006- Retrospective at the Print Studio, Hamilton
1999-2008– created images in mansa-media of Indian cities, Pushkar, Delhi, Mumbai.
Banarasan exhibition was held at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, and South Asian Gallery of Art in Oakville
2008/09- Created a series on Diversity in Ontario
2009- Created a series on Udaipurto shown at Bougainvillaea Gallery in Udaipur, India
2010/11- ‘Mahal Maharaja and Mansaram’ at Art Square Gallery, Toronto and at South Asian Gallery of Art, Oakville
2012- ‘Intersection, Mansaram & McLuhan’ at Ed Video Gallery featuring video, audio, mixed media works.  Also preparing for future exhibition of collages at JM Gallery in New York City
Art in the collection of: Royal Ontario Museum, Air India, Marshall McLuhan estate, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Government of Ontario Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada, Modern Art New Delhi, and numerous private collections.
Member of: CARFAC, SAVAC, Royal Ontario Museum, Hamilton Artists Inc.,
Colour and Form Society (life Member), Bombay Art Society (Life member), Gallery 44, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Arts Hamilton, The Print Studio

And just in case anyone is harboring any doubts or suspicions, Panchal was kind enough to include a scan of the following letter from the media guru himself:

Truly a living embodiment of media intersections (aka piazzas), the in-between quality of gaps and intervals and all-pervading invisible environments that so fascinated McLuhan, Panchal provides us with an outstanding example of media ecology praxis, putting theory into artistic practice.   I'm looking forward to his Manhattan exhibition in July and August.  It'll be just the cool medium we'll need for a hot New York summer!

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