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Volume 12, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



Marshall McLuhan’s deployment of figure and ground to explain media relations has been complicated by new technologies that open the control and flow of information to general users. This renders contingent the reading of context and content as users familiarize themselves with new forms. At such times, according to McLuhan, creative works may aid adjustments in perspective. Gilles Deleuze argues, for example, that the moving image inherited an essence from the traditional arts but had to adjust the gaze of users to a new logic of display. One way this was done was through framing a screen as a figure in the text of a moving picture scenario. In this way early film characterized how (and how not) to gaze at the screen itself and later, techniques of production were devised to sustain a seamless immersion in the ground of screen entertainments. By presenting technology as a narrative figure (a robot) that gains understanding of human behaviour through screens, the feature animation, WALL-E (Stanton, 2008), offers an opportunity to interrogate the shifting boundaries of human and digital cultures, suggesting the need for McLuhanite adjustment of Deleuzian claims about technological inheritance.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Deleuze; figure; ground; McLuhan; screen culture; technological inheritance; WALL-E
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