PRINT November 2004


“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror,” Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967), arguing that radical shifts in contemporary experience often go unarticulated because people remain attached to “the flavor of the most recent past”—and so in life recognize only the persistent afterimage of a familiar but disappeared world.

Doug Aitken’s Broken Screen, a project for Artforum, might be considered a kind of living homage to McLuhan’s popular handbook, in which the theorist paired his aphorisms with imagery appropriated from art and mass culture to magnify for readers the impact of technology on both human perception and society at large. During the past year, Aitken has interviewed filmmakers from Robert Altman and Kenneth Anger to Claire Denis and Mike Figgis, artists from Olafur Eliasson to Ed Ruscha, and such architects as Rem Koolhaas

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