Ancestral Irrepressible: Marshall McLuhan and the Future of the Archive in Derrida’s Archive Fever
McLuhan’s status as the patriarch of Canadian media studies is explored as a troublesome nomological principle in light of Derrida’s Archive Fever. The trouble with archives, for Derrida, is the trouble of the original source. Linking McLuhan’s exploration of typographical and electronic communication systems to Derrida’s deconstruction of the archive as a technology of exteriorization, this paper investigates the nature of subjectivity and objectivity in Western epistemology. Can the archive, conceived of as a medium, allow for an escape from the specters of the past? Derrida’s proposed ‘archive of the future’ is theorized in terms of McLuhan’s sense of acoustic space and Foucault’s non-subjective discourse, and as a spatial and cultural construct reflecting the technological uncertainty in an age of mixed-media.