McLuhan Centre: “Hot Line, Cold Call” Nov 18, 2019

Join us for Hot Line, Cold Call with Yuri FuruhataMél Hogan, and Chris Russill. Our three speakers will try and cool us down with their hot take on Environmental Media. We’ll be talking about sweaty Zuckerberg, smart air-conditioning, site-specific weather control, and the geopolitics of planetary imaging.

Our annual theme, HotMessAge, addresses how media and technology are central to today’s pressing social, economic, and environmental situations. But media and technology are also part of forging new worlds while addressing these challenges.

This year at the McLuhan Cent

re for Culture and Technology we amplify some of the voices in Media Studies who offer hot takes with the cool possibilities of radical social change.


The “Monday Night Seminar” carries on the tradition of Marshall McLuhan’spublic seminars at the University of Toronto. All seminars take place within the same intimate Coach House setting where McLuhan once held court. In this up-close and personal environment, a range of thinkers – academics, activists, scientists, artists, designers and planners – will challenge prevailing cultural notions about technology and provoke new insight on the possibilities for a more equitable technological future. Join us!

Pic by Tanner Mirrlees
Pic by Tanner Mirrlees
Pic by Christine H. Tran
Pic by Christine H. Tran

Yuri Furuhata is associate professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and an associate member of the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. She works in the areas of film and media studies, architecture, visual arts, and critical theory. Her first book, Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Duke University Press, 2013), won the Best First Book Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. She is currently working on a book, entitled Atmospheric Control: A Transpacific Genealogy of Climatic Media, which explores geopolitical connections across environmental art, weather control, climate engineering, and cybernetic architecture in Japan and the United States.

Mél Hogan is an Assistant Professor in the Communication, Media and Film Department and the Director of the Environmental Media Lab at the University of Calgary. Mél’s research focuses on the social implications and environmental impacts of server farms and data centers. Her recent focus lies at the intersection of genomics as it pertains to data storage and data imaginaries. Her work has been published in EphemeraFirst MondayTelevision and New MediaBig Data and SocietyCulture Machine, and the Canadian Journal of Communications, among others.

Chris Russill is an Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University, and editor of the Canadian Journal of Communication. He works on questions of media, technology and environmental crisis, with special attention to the intersections of media history, geopolitics, and the earth sciences. His current work explores how “the planetary” has emerged as an object of scientific inquiry, software design, visualization, political regulation and cultural interpretation, and how scientific conceptions of “the planetary” challenge the ecological, geographical and political frameworks that usually mediate our relationship to environmental crisis.

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Plenary “Genomics: Staking Identity since 2003” @ the University of Toronto



Friday, November 15, 2019
Jackman Humanities Building JHB100
170 St. George Street, Ground Floor 
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5R 2M8

A. Making ends meet – public keynote session 1:00PM to 2:40PM

  • Rena BivensSocial Media: Stalking identity since 1997
  • Mél HoganGenomics: Staking identity since 2003

B. Private ends – closed workshop 3:10PM to 4:40PM

  • Leslie Regan ShadeGetting to eQuality:What young people told us about privacy and equality in social media
  • Arun Jacob: Zuckerberg’s Perestroika. Facebook in the First Phase of Technologization of Trust
  • Aaron TuckerDiversity in Faces: IBM, Flickr, and the facial data as tactic of governmentality
  • Gemma Richardson: The ‘Pivot to Privacy”: How surveillance capitalism will survive and thrive 

C. Odds and ends – closed workshop 4:55PM to 6:25PM

  • Shirley RoburnSinging Plants and Speaking Trees: More-than-human social media
  • Brendan Smith: The Burnout Society on YouTube: Normalizing affective precarity in the digital environment
  • Tamara ShepherdBreaking up Is Impossible to Do: The perils of antitrust for platform capitalism 
  • Tanner MirrleesDigital Free Trade, Platform surveillance, network propaganda, and cyber-warfare

D. Loose ends – Closing Remarks 6:25PM to 6:30PM