We are very please to announce that our essay, “Understanding Machines: A History of Canadian Mechanology,” will be published in an upcoming issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication. Here’s the abstract,
This article examines the collaboration between John Hart and Jean Le Moyne and their attempts to build interest in “mechanology,” the science of machines first proposed in the 1930s by French engineer Jacques Lafitte. The authors interpret the work of these two Canadians in the 1960s as they attempted to realize Lafitte’s mechanology as part of the growing interest in the general sciences of machines, media, and technology during these years, a topic that is often considered to be dominated by the success of McLuhan’s media studies and American cybernetics. By examining the projects that Hart and Le Moyne worked on in the areas of education, research, and art, the authors argue that the history of Canadian mechanology provides an opportunity to reassess the overlooked contributions of Hart and Le Moyne to help us understand the relationship between communication, technology, and culture. Taken from the vantage point of the present day, a consideration of their contributions also allows for a better understanding of the institutional and disciplinary context within which canonic intellectual histories in Canada have been written.
The essay is part of a special issue on the “Margins of Cybernetics” that is edited by Dominique Trudel, Philippe Theophanidis and Ghislain Thibault.