C.I.R.C.A. - Center for Intermedia Research and Communication Analysis


During the late 1960s the world of Fine Arts (like much else at that time) was in a state of rapid change, in part fueled by the pervasive effects of advancing communication and imaging technology. Marshall McLuhan's ideas had a great impact on Kurt and his views about art, education, and society. In this letter intended for review by Jean de Menil, one member of the family of wealthy art patrons in Texas with whom Kurt had established a relationship (see Mixed Masters), Kurt proposes the creation of C.I.R.C.A., an Intermedia Center at the University of St. John in Houston, TX. Such centers were being established in various cities at the time.
          He writes, "The idea of an interdepartmental or interdisciplinary project provides one of the most direct and important opportunities for reintegrating education. Perhaps the brightest hopes lie in bringing together the revolutionary technology of the twentieth century with our study of the fine arts and liberal arts in the spirit of the great medieval tradition of humanistic scholarship....In a field such as art history it is fast becoming clear that truly sig­nificant research can be done now only by transcending the limiting conventions of academic departmentalization....The great promise of a center for interdisciplinary, or interdepartmental, studies lies precisely in these possibilities for a humanistic reintegration of education, which implies as its goal the enlightened individual human being, totally integrated in body, mind and spirit."