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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture

Faculty Profiles

Janine Marchessault

Media & Culture

University   York University
E-Mail Address
Phone Number   (416)736-2100, ext. 33485
Office Location   CFA 303
Office Hours   TBA


B.A. (Concordia); M.F.A. (York); Ph.D. (York)


As Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization, Dr. Marchessault’s research for the past five years has been concerned with utopian cinematic spaces and experiences, excavating some of the 20th century’s most striking experiments with film and media: Steichen’s Family of Man; Wright and Rotha’s World Without End; Expo 67 multiscreen experiments, the National Film Board’s Challenge for Change, and the new architectures of digital mapping, to name but a few examples. Such projects pose the difficulty and critical imperative for common world ethics that we see enacted in many social movements today.

Professor Marchessault is the author of Ecstatic World: Media, Humanism, Ecology (forthcoming, MIT Press); Marshall McLuhan: Cosmic Media (Sage Publications, 2005); and editor of numerous collections including Cartographies of Place: Ways of Representing the Urban (forthcoming, McGill-Queen’s Press with M. Darroch); Reimagining Cinema: Multiscreen and Split Images at Expo 67(forthcoming with M. Gagnon), Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema (University of Toronto Press, 2007) and Gendering the Nation (UTP, 2001).

She is a past president of the Film Studies Association of Canada and a founder of York University’s Future Cinema Lab which is devoted to ‘new stories for new screens’. As a member the 3D Film Consortium (3DFLIC), she is investigating the new aesthetic grammars of S3D media. She is also co-editing a forthcoming book on 3D cinema and media.

Research Interests

Professor Marchessault’s urban research has focused on the creative cultures of urban space and cartographies of place, with a lens on Havana, Helsinki, Berlin and Toronto. She is the director of the Visible City Project and an online archive which brings together over fifty interviews with artists, filmmakers, designers and urban planners to talk about space/place. Over the past decade, she has worked with the curatorial collective Public Access, to investigate new models of urban public art.

Her curatorial credits include a series of large-scale public art exhibitions, most recently The Leona Drive Project (2009), Museum for the End of the World (2012) and the forthcoming Land/slide, Possible Futures (2013).

Academic Interests: Cities and cinema, stereoscopic 3D cinema, future cinema architectures, feminist/post-colonial media, social media and activism,  McLuhan and the Explorations Group, World Fairs, film festivals and utopias, micro-cinemas, curatorial studies, process philosophy, theories of spectatorship, phenomenology and affect, experimental cinema.

Selected Publications

Reimagining Cinema: Multiscreen and Split Images at Expo 67, co-edited with Monika Gagnon (forthcoming).

Cartographies of Place: Ways of Representing the Urban, co-edited with Michael Darroch (forthcoming McGill-Queen’s University Press).

Locating Migrating Media, co-edited with Greg Elmer, Charles Davis and John McCullough (Lexington Press, 2010).

Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema, co-edited with Susan Lord (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007).

Edited Special Issues of Public: Art/Culture/Ideas:“Double Vision: S3D Cinema” (2013); “Suburbs and Space” (2011); “Public? What is” (2009)

"Translocal Transits in Toronto Art Practices", Transits: Canada/Brazil, edited by Walter Moser (Ottawa: University of Ottawa, 2011: 132-143)

"Experimental Communities and Site Specific Art”, Public: Art/Culture/Ideas #43 2011.

 “Poetics of Place in Montreal Films.” Migrating Media. ed. Greg Elmer et. al. (Lexington Press, 2010).

"Of Bicycles and Films: The Case of CineCycle”, Public: Art/Culture/Ideas 40 2010: 93-104.

"The Value of the Parochial: Film and the Commonplace", MediaTropes Vol 2, No 1 (2009): 24-36.

"Ecstatic Universe: Bataille’s Negative Ecology”, The Universal Code, Power Plant Catalogue (2009): 9:17.

”Anonymous History as Methodology: The Collaborations of Siegfried Giedion, Jacqueline Tyrwhitt, and the Explorations Group (1951-53)” with M. Darroch, Place Studies in Art, Media, Science and Technology. eds. Andreas Broeckmann and Gunalan Nadarajan Weimar: VDG Verlag, 2009. 9-27.

 “McLuhan’s Pedagogical Art”, Flusser Studies 06 (2008): 1-13.

 “Multi-Screens and Future Cinema: The Labyrinth Project at Expo 67”, Fluid Screens: Expanded Cinema, eds. Susan Lord and Janine Marchessault. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. 29-51.

 “Film Festivals as Cultural Traffic and Urban Encounter”, with Dipti Gupta, Urban Enigmas. ed. Johanne Sloan. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007. 239-254.

 “Manufacturing Humanism: Steichen/Burtynsky”, Prefix Photo 15 (2007): 54-67.

 “Men in White, Women in Aprons: Utopian Iconographies of TV Doctors”, Figuring it Out. eds. Rusty Shteir and Bernard Lightman. Durham, NH: University Press of New England, 2006. 315-336.

 “Christine Davis and the Secret Life of Screens”, Christine Davis: Projections, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, 2006, pp. 29-35.

 “Mechanical Brides and Mama’s Boys: Gender and Technology in Early McLuhan”, Marshall McLuhan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory, vol. II. ed. Gary Genosko. New York and London: Routledge, 2005. 161-180.

Current projects:

Artists and urban spaces


Founding editor, Public: Arts/Culture/Ideas
Associate editor, Moving Image Review Arts Journal (MIRAJ)
Editorial board, Cinémas


Ecstatic World: Media, Humanism, Ecology (forthcoming, MIT Press)

Marshall McLuhan: Cosmic Media (London: Sage Publications, 2005)




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Harold [Innis] taught us how to use the bias of culture and communication as an instrument of research. By directing attention to the bias, or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology of any culture, he showed us how to understand cultures.
~ Marshall McLuhan