Faculty: Arts and Science
Digital Media, Social Media, Media History, Video Games, Avant-Garde Art and Literature, Contemporary Literature, Canadian Literature, Copyright, Cultural Policy, Publishing, Small Press, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Role-Playing Games, x box playstation iphone internet web twitter facebook plagiarism peer p2p piracy experimental technology poetry fiction science
My work focuses on the relationship between avant-garde art and writing on one hand and communication studies and media history on the other. Inside the academy, I've been a professor in both English and Communication Studies departments. I've also worked professionally as a writer, editor, designer and publisher of print and new media. As a result, I take an interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching, and am committed to the notion that universities need to search continually for ways to build connections to people, organizations and things outside of themselves.
My most recent book, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg (fall 2010), concerns a major work by Canada's most iconoclastic filmmaker. Through his reinvention of half-forgotten film genres, his remobilization of abandoned techniques from the early history of cinema, and his unique editing style, Maddin has created a critically successful oeuvre that looks like nothing else in Canadian film. My Winnipeg (2008), which Roger Ebert called one of the ten best films of the first decade of the twenty-first century, has consolidated Maddin's international reputation. I argue that Maddin's use of techniques and media falls outside of the normal repertoire of contemporary cinema, which requires us to re-examine what we think we know about the documentary genre and even 'film' itself. Through an exploration of the film's major thematic concerns - memory, the cultural archive, and how people and objects circulate through the space of the city - I contend that My Winnipeg is intriguing because it is psychologically and affectively true without being historically accurate.
My collaborative work over the last six years will culminate in another volume, titled Dynamic Fair Dealing, co-edited with Rosemary Coombe and Martin Zeilinger. In this volume, a group of scholars, activists, and artists from a variety of disciplines and genres will explore the relations between intellectual property laws, technology and code, institutional practices and other obstacles to mobility that mediate the cultural worlds Canadians can imagine and explore as educators, researchers and creators. The essays will place particular emphasis on practices of dynamic fair dealing - emergent approaches to the creation, circulation and management of digital cultural objects that challenge and/or present alternatives to traditional paradigms of intellectual property.
Work in the planning stages includes a monograph on conceptual writer and artist Kenneth Goldsmith, which will approach his work from the perspective of media poetics; and an anthology of essays on conceptual poetics, co-edited with Vanessa Place.