The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects
Marshall McLuhan (Canada)
Quentin Fiore (USA)
The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects is a book by Marshall McLuhan, designed by Quentin Fiore, and coordinated by Jerome Agel. After publication in 1967, it became an instant classic. The book is composed in an experimental, collage-style: Some pages are printed backwards and are meant to be read with a mirror; other pages are intentionally left blank; modern and historic photographs and images are juxtaposed in surprising ways. The title is a play on McLuhan's oft-quoted saying "the medium is the message," adopting the term "massage" to emphasize the effect of each medium on the human sensorium and was first published in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). An accompanying audio version was recorded by John Simon. The recording is a collage of McLuhan’s statements, interrupted by other speakers, and over-laid with discordant sound bites and music. McLuhan purported the medium itself, not the conveyed content, “is the environment that affects everybody.” According to him, the telephone or the newspaper were shaping and controlling us more than what the individual said through them. Thus, no matter how powerful or persuasive the message, it is the mediums which have changed our patterns of thought and behaviour.