The artist is older than the fish (Uses of McLuhan)
With writing, therefore, comes logical analysis and specialism, but also militarism and bureaucracy. (McLuhan, “Culture Without Literacy”, 1953)
An analysis of the ongoing literarization of the arts, and arts education, following its incorporation into, or subordination of, such a highly bureaucratic and militaristic organization as the modern university, can benefit from a reading of McLuhan.
The division between visual and literary languages is a fact which also set a great abyss between science and the humanities. Thinking as we do of culture in book terms, we are unable to read the language of technological forms.
The academization of the arts, with its focus on the written text, will therefore make it difficult for the arts to deal with not only ‘technological form’ but everything in the world outside human beings. So if the poets no longer explain the world, we have to rely upon the fish.
Consequently we must unlearn literacy. Unfortunately we can not write about how…