What is “Media(S)cene”?

Media(s)cene is a theory and art project that draws inspiration from Marshall McLuhan’s landmark book, The Medium is the Massage, and what McLuhan called “probes” — concepts to push us into new and different ways of seeing and thinking. Thus our experimental essay Hot and Cool in the Media(S)cene” begins with this probe:

[Click here to read the essay.]

The rest of the essay probes into the utter and outer limits of media theory, serving as a gateway for creatively and critically responding to our contemporary media environments. We seek to expose hidden voids in media criticism and mediated existence — creating new openings for art and theory.

On the left is the original cover photo for Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage.” On the right is our update of the dress, featuring Brooke Storms against an image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Barry, Brooke, and Julia at the photo shoot for the VOID dress image used in Media(s)cene promotional materials

Artistic Counter-Environments

Inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s view that art could serve as “anti-environments” (counter-environments) for our media environments, we welcome proposals for innovative works that address, expand, or challenge the concepts and conditions explored in the Hot-Cool essay.

Since media reshape our ways of seeing and being, we call for artistic reflection and creative action to assess and address the contemporary hot and cool, implosive and explosive, extending and reversing, character of the Media(S)cene and its effects on us. We need new aesthetics to inspire the new ethics of media. As McLuhan presaged, “Perhaps it is time for the roles of artist and bureaucrat/entrepreneur to reverse positions.” Technologists, it’s time to listen to artists.

Submission of Proposals

We invite proposals for new or existing works for exhibition, screening, performance, installation, sound art and other creative formats to be featured at the Media Ecology Association’s 20th Annual Convention.

Proposals should include an abstract (max. 500 words), technical requirements for presentation of the work (if applicable), a brief biography (200 words), and contact information. Please submit the material to Julia Hildebrand ( and Barry Vacker ( by January 15, 2019.

Exhibition Site

Selected proposals will be invited for the ”Media(S)cene” art exhibit at the Media Ecology Association’s 20th Annual Convention from 27–30 June, 2019, in Toronto. For more information on the international conference and its theme “Media Ethics: Human Ecology in a Connected World,” visit:


Project Organizers: Julia M. Hildebrand, Barry Vacker