on prosthesis

In Marshall McLuhan's seminal text, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, he uses the concept of prosthesis to explain media's function as "any extension of ourselves". Stressing the physicality of media extensions, McLuhan describes the wheel as an extension of the foot, clothing as an extension of the skin, and electric technology as an extension of the central nervous system. Yet as media extends, it also amputates. Although electric technology extends the central nervous system, "such amplification is bearable by the nervous system only through numbness or blocking of perception". Thus McLuhan asserts that a process he terms "autoamputation" accompanies any extension of media. (Sarah Coffey)

Read full article here

The University of Chicago :: Theories of Media :: Keywords Glossary :: prosthesis