Medium Is the Message

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The Medium is the Message”

The medium is the message is a phrase that challenges the idea behind the artwork, which was coined by Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan warns us that we are often distracted by the content of a medium. The true value of a medium is how can it be used to enhance our collective experience and understanding within society. It can discuss the meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived to the audience. This phrase can be communicated through Damien Hirst and Stelarc artwork.

Damien Hirst works are very conceptual and dramatic which leaves the audience looking for a message. For example he’s artwork “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone living” which consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Damien Hirst is aiming to fry the mind by influencing how the message is perceived to the audience but he does so by setting up direct, often visceral experience, of which the shark remains the most outstanding. In keeping with the piece’s title, “the shark is simultaneously life and death incarnate in a way you don’t quite grasp; suspended and silent, in its tanks”. This is when the audience starts to question; “The Medium is the Message”. The artwork gives the innately demonic urge to live a demonic, deathlike form but we still don’t understand its intention and values; what is it promoting and how does it contribute to society? It is like Hirst is intending to make the medium an unquestionable aspect of art. Some people say the medium is telling us it is a visual metaphor for the crossing-over to death, which we think will never happen or the desire to be displaced.

Stelarc is also a very conceptual and dramatic artist who expresses he’s form through the use of he’s own body. Stelarc idiosyncratic performances often involve robotics or other relatively modern technology integrated with his...
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