The Charge in the
Global Membrane by
B.W. Powe with street art photos by Marshall Soules
The Charge in the Global Membrane by B.W. Powe with street art photos by Marshall Soules
“If Marshall McLuhan were to rejoin us today, he would be stunned at how much has changed so quickly. Powe’s Membrane text does the update exactly as McLuhan would. The art work by Marshall Soules is nothing short of amazing. He’s a sort of Wyndham Lewis, Marc Chagall, and Picasso rolled into one.”
W. Terrence Gordon, author of Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, dramatist and essayist
B.W. Powe is a writer and a teacher. He has written over 14 books of poetry and prose, and he teaches at York University. He lives in Canada and Spain.
Photograph: B.W. Powe with his daughter Elena
Marshall Soules is the former Chair of Media Studies at Vancouver Island University and author of Media, Persuasion and Propaganda (2015) among other works. He has been photographing wall art since the 1980s.
What is the subject
of this book?
We’re immersed in a radical transformation of consciousness
and sensibility through the advent of digital communications’ technologies.
Everything is in heightened conditions of emergent flux and speed, of spiritual
emergency. Responding to the transformations, this word-image work seeks the
heartbeat inside the Genesis overdrive of our present. It’s a book of pulses
and intuitions expressed in prose and poetry, street art and images, all of
which record and reflect our deepening engulfment in manifesting generations of
electricity. This book is about the charging of our time, and our charge for
The global membrane is an evolutionary jump from the global
village and global theatre into sensory, psychic alteration in which
communications bring us at once closer and into sharp, painful divisions. A
time of openings—expressions of humane empathy: a time of terrified,
terrorizing closings—reactions against uprooting of what we know. Ecology, the
afflictions of the Trump phenomenon, the quick-time evolutions of the internet,
the rush of data influx, the upsurges in Nationalism, Trolls and Hackers,
spiritual distress, crises of identity and A-literacy, #MeToo, the Netgens, the
search for silence and rest, the intimations of a worldwide linked
consciousness, the transfiguration of digital experience into cellular intimacies
and addictions, the crying out of souls longing to grasp and express this
dislocating jump-drive and its illuminating hopes, the shape-shifting artistic
expressions of the current: all are elements of what we experience.
Are you Human? An
invitation says on the internet. If so
then click here…
How do we penetrate the screens and perceive what’s churning
out from us and into us?
How do we catch the streaming, the breakdowns breakthroughs,
the yearnings, the fears of the present?
How to describe this unescapable process, the unfolding, our
transformations, the devastations, our longing, the effects of hyperdrive?
It’s hard to understand radical change when change is erupting
in front of you; and when that charge wholly absorbs your attention and
What are the forms
and styles of this book?
This book is written in the streams of the new, pulling in
its vibrations and alarms, its wonders and dislocations, the crystalline
phenomena of what blazes at us all-at-once. In its streaming and feeds you’ll find Donald
Trump, the Gaia Principle, cellphones, social media and trolls existing side by
side with street art, and with William Blake, Arthur Rimbaud, Simone Weil,
Marshall McLuhan, Teilhard de Chardin, Susan Howe, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen,
Patti Smith, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell. It’s a collage-mosaic that absorbs speculations
on force and energy, the poetry of theological concern, direct addresses to the
reader (breaking the fourth wall), aphorisms, traces and fragments,
observations on our sensational phase of communications and the identity crises
we find in demagogic nationalist passions and the spewing hatreds of
shock-jocks, and a letter of hope to Netgens. It engages the polarizing
extremes of politics, presents reflections on refugees and ecology, what it
means to be living in the air—in the clouds—through digital access, prose poems
about solitude and transfiguring imaginative energies, about the moral and
metaphysical rages we confront and make, and which confront and make us.
What genre is this
All of them.
~ B.W. Powe
About the Images
"Part of a larger documentary (ethnographic) project, the images of street art were photographed as they were found in various cities on particular days. Often, they are the result of collective creativity illustrating the Charge in the streets, and credit for their creation remains with the original artists. I hope these images will provide wider exposure to artists and allow them to spread their news and views.” ~ Marshall Soules
“B. W. Powe’s The Charge in the Global Membrane is a much-needed intervention in
our moment of cultural opening troubled by opposing forces seeking to halt the
movement. Ranging from ancient literature and history to space travel,
ecological crises, science fiction movies, and the current political turmoil
around the globe, this powerful book discloses interconnections among all of
these phenomena. Having drunk from the same visionary wells as William Blake,
Simone Weil, Teilhard de Chardin, Bob Dylan, and the prophet Isaiah, Powe
offers lightning flashes of insight into our disturbing and exhilarating
author of Spirit Under Construction
“It takes a visionary to be able to make sense of the blur
of the world whirling ever faster around us. The drawn images add another
dimension to the words. …It takes a non-linear poetic mind to describe the new
normal of our existence. …Loved the way this tied in Rimbaud and the ‘cusp
artists.’ Diane Keating,
poet, novelist, author of The Crying Out
“This is a great piece of work: a really timely synthesis of
much of B.W.P’s thinking over the years. And the Cuban street-art plays at so
many levels (I particularly like the irony).”
Jim Berry, artist
“The Charge is by far the best thing Powe´s written since McLuhan and Frye, sweeping in scope,
finely tuned, and appropriate in style, deeply provocative in thought.”
author of The PhD Trap and Weapons of Mass Disruption