“Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it” – Marshall McLuhan

The DEW Lab is the creative domain of Steve Wilcox, a PhD student at the University of Waterloo. Steve studies media philosophy in the English department at UW. There he extrapolates the work of Marshall McLuhan into the domains of linguistics, phenomenology, object oriented philosophy, and systems theory.

The starting point for Steve’s research is that media function in fundamentally incommensurable ways. As Eric McLuhan once remarked, TV and radio are realities apart. And so he started The Distant Early Warning Lab – a site where he can create and deploy digital media texts that persuade through processes beyond print. Some of Steve’s projects include a browser game that takes place in real time, an arcade cabinet that teaches players a kinetic colour-coded language, and he currently runs a web comic that repurposes Golden Age comics to discuss contemporary issues.

Questions/comments? steve[at]thedewlab.com

Papers (Presented)

Congress | May. 2012

Simulating the Revolution: Military Applications of Virtual Reality and McLuhanist Media Theory

SAGE: De/Centering the Human Subject | May 2012

Autopoesis & Antienvironments: How Posthumanism Informs Media Theory

 McLuhan 100 | Nov. 2011

Decoding the Virtual Body: Marshall McLuhan and the Disembodied Posthuman

 SLSA | Sep. 2011

The Dialectics of Digital Media: Marshall McLuhan, Katherine Hayles and Pattern-Recognition

Web Publications

Diegetic Webdesign on OXP [Link]


The Bureau [Link]

Legacy System [Link]

Division Pixel Suppliers [Link]


 Dissertation Proposal on McLuhan and Object Oriented Ontology

Antienvironment – Unreal3 project