media history // media practice



and their many intersections




October 11, 2014

Delighed to announce that next month, November 11th, I will be giving a short talk on Len Lye's interwar films, as part of the Toronto International Film Festival foundation's "Free Screen" series. The event was made possible in large part due to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, the Len Lye Foundation, and the New Zealand Film Archive, who are providing prints of several Lye films, including the never-before-screened (in Canada) All Souls Carnival! Len Lye curator Paul Brobbel will be introducing the program, and I'm going to give a more general talk on Lye's interest in visual music and his collaboration with Canadian composer Henry Brant. Details here!


September 9, 2014

Starting the fall semester at the University of Toronto! This semester I'm teaching "History of Cinematography." If you're on campus and want to drop in, lectures are Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 pm at Innis College 222.


May 9-10, 2014

During the second weekend of May, I participated in a closed workshop devoted to abstraction and its connection to the moving (animated) image at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf. The worshop brought together a number of scholars from Germany, Canada, and the United States to examine the history and current state of abstraction in media spectatorship and philosophy. My sincere thanks to Dr. Robin Curtis for inviting me to participate in what turned out to be a really thought-provoking constellation of workshop presentations.


April 25 - May 2, 2014

For the third week of April I worked with archival materials in the Dziga Vertov Collection at the Austrial Film Museum in Vienna. My gratitute to Adelheid Heftberger, collection manager and curator, for her help with my research and great company.


April 21 - April 25, 2014

The online media scholarly community In Media Res is featuring a week of curated posts on the Pixar animation studio. Ethan Tussey from Georgia State University is the editor of the entire week of posts, and I have curated the second installment (April 22) of the series. My contribution will addresses the role of proprietary technology (RenderMan) in establishing Pixar's international dominance and in shaping the studio's underlying animation philosophy. You can view my curated clip and comments here.


March 22, 2014

If you are in Seattle, please join us at the Northwest Film Forum for a special screening dedicated to Harry Smith's "Early Abstractions" and the Animation of Bodily Rhythm. The program was co-curated by Rani Singh (Ghetty Institute) and myself, as part of our annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference. The program puts Smith's pioneering "Early Abstractions" in conversation with some of his contemporaries (Storm de Hirsch; Jud Yalkut; Hy Hirsh; Len Lye) and current film artists (Jodie Mack; Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof), who explore the rhythmic and somatic dimensions of animated movement. The program includes rarely screened 16mm film prints, original live accompaniment led by Lori Goldston, and a live performance by Seattle-based filmmaker and musician Eric Ostrowski. Special introduction by Chuck Kleinhans, Northwestern University professor emeritus and co-editor of Jump Cut media journal.

Here is a copy of the special poster that I designed for this event.






























March 20, 2014

On Thursday March 20th from 11:00- 12:45pm I will be chairing a panel on "Architectures of Moving-image Display" at the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference (SCMS) in Seattle. Conference takes place at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel. Swagato Chakavorty from Yale University will be presenting on 19th century Phantasmagoria architecture and contepmorary gallery works; Brian Jacobson from St. Andrew's College will present on contemporary gallery artists whose work re-constructs early film studio architecture; Ian Robinson from McGill University will present on contemporary urban cinema performances; I will present on the work of artist James Turrell and his  moving-image experiments with human optical perception.

Our gratitute to the Experimental Film and Media Group (ExFM) and the Cinema and Art History Group (CinemArt) for sponsoring our panel! Full conference program is here.


February 07, 2014

Giving a talk at the Toronto Film Seminar, as part of a session dedicated to emerging scholarship on animation. The event takes place at the TIFF -Bell Lightbox theater. Sandra Arnett from Wilfrid Laurier University will also be giving a talk on East Asian animation, and Tess Takashi from York University will be responding and moderating a discussion. The event is free for anyone interested in film scholarship, especially the history of animation! Details here.


October 15, 2013

Presenting my research on the politics and ethics of early cinematography, with a focus on the history of the light-weight camera, at the quarterly meeting of the Society for Presidential Fellows.


September 26-28, 2013

This weekend my old alma mater Ryerson University (Toronto) is hosting a two-day symposium Electric Visions, dedicated to Dada, Surrealism, and its influence on post-war cinema and video art. The symposium also celebrates the latest book by R. Bruce Elder, to whom I am greatly indebted for much of my understanding of avant-garde art and experimental cinema history. I am really honoured to be presenting my research on the filmmaker and sculptor Len Lye at this symposium. The keynote talk by Renato Barrilli, author of The Science of Culture and the Phenomenology of Styles, should be a rich and inspiring experience for anyone interested in post-war video art and its surprising roots in 18th century science and philosophy.


June 23-27, 2013

Attending, chairing a panel, and presenting at the annual conference of the Society for Animation Studies.

Not only does this year's conference boast the best conference website I've seen in a long time, but the location (University of Southern California, Los Angeles) could not be more appropriate for an organization that strives to bring together animation historians, scholars, and practitioners. I'm looking forward to Tom Sito's keynote address on the history of computer animation, as well as many presentations dedicated to animation and performacne (with is also the topic of my panel).


April 30, 2013

Today I was inducted into Northwestern University's Society of Presidential Fellows. I'm really honored to be a part of this incredible community of emerging scholars , each of whom is the outstanding researcher in their field.

I am very eager to begin working with them on developing cross-disciplinary events and sharing our research.

My sincere thank you to The Graduate School at Northwestern for  the lovely ceremony.

Here's a photo from the event!


April 6, 2013

Presented a paper on Len Lye's transtiion from filmmaking to large-scale kinetic scultpture at the 9th University of Chicago conference in Cinema and Media Studies. This year's conference theme was "Visions of Scale: Duration, Magnification, Perspective".  It was a pleasure to be part of this really great two-day conference, which included so many fantastic papers that spoke to one another. Mary Ann Doane's keynote address on scale and perspective was particularly breathtaking in scope and inspiring.


March 9, 2013

Chairing an exciting panel on "Animated Movement and Cinema's Techne" at the SCMS 2013 conference (Ballroom Space, Drake Hotel, Chicago). The panel will include papers by Tom Gunning (University of Chicago), Andrew Johnston (Amherst College), Greg Zinman (Smithsonian Institute), and my own paper on the development of different philosophies of movement in early animation practice. Additionally, I will be at the conference all week, attending as many panels as I can and participating in special interest group meetings in Animated Media, Experimental Film and Media, and CinemArts: Film and Art History. If you are at SCMS, I hope to see you there.


March 8, 2013

If you are in Chicago today for the SCMS conference (or if you live in the city) join me at the amazing  Cinema Borealis (1550 Milwaukee Ave. N) at 7:00 pm for a great program of experimental animation. "Defining Experimental Animation" is an event that I am organizing and running on behalf of the Animated Media Special Interest Group at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. The lineup includes films by canonical or well-known experimental animators (eg. Oskar Fischinger, Robert Breer, Larry Cuba), but also incredible filmmakers who are often unrecognized for their contributions (eg. Janie Geiser, Daina Krumins, Kathy Rose) or filmmakers who are not often defined as "animators" (eg. Stan Brakhage or Barry Spinello). The screening will be accompanied by a free color booklet of screening notes written by scholars and SCMS members. I am really excited about the event and the booklet, so I hope to see you there! Clich HERE for a larger version of the beautiful poster, which will also be the cover of our booklet.


February 8, 2013

Next month is going to be quite busy with presentations !

First off, on March 2nd I will be presenting my work at the Northwestern University Faculty of Communication symposium. Representatives from different departments have been invited to present their work in front of scholars from different disciplines, and I will be representing the department of Radio/TV/Film.


January 18, 2013

Running a workshop on "Writing the Academic Job Letter" for graduate students in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University. The academic job letter is a writing "genre" that is surrounded by too much mystery and anxiety. This workshop was designed as part of my fellowship at the Graduate Writing Place. Workshop includes an overview of the job letter-writing process, concrete strategies for crafting a strong letter, and a Q&A discussion with our department faculty.

The workshop would not have been a success without faculty collaboration, as well as the support of our department alumnae, who generously shared their own sample job letters.


December 12, 2012

Today was the final day of my "Analyzing Media Texts" course at Northwestern University's School of Continuting Studies. This was my first time working with returning and mature students -- it was rewarding to teach in a classroom with such a range of personal experiences, insightful and original comments, and open minded approach to the diverse films we watched.

The course syllabus is available here.


November 8, 2012

Today I ran a workshop on "Writing about Audiovisual and Ephemeral Objects" for graduate students at Northwestern University. This workshop was part of my fellowship at the Graduate Writing Place. My thanks to Elizabeth Lenaghan for helping me facilitate the workshop and to all the graduate students who attended! The workshop included participants from Performance Studies, Anthropology, Art Theory & Practice, Religious Studies, and even Biology (among others). We got great feedback, but I'm looking forward to improving the workshop even more for our Winter Quarter version.


September 12, 2012

Today was my last day of research at the Len Lye Archive, maintained by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  I was researching the filmmaking methods of animator Len Lye, whose ideas about the role "kinesthetic empathy" in filmmaking practice have been central to the development of many animation techniques. This research trip was funded by the Graduate Ignition Grant from Northwestern University. Much thanks to the lovely gallery staff, in particular archivist-curtaor Paul Brobbel and director Rhana Davenport!

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I'm a media scholar and occassional

media maker. I am currently the SSHRC

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cinema Studies

Institute, University of Toronto.

I also hold a BA in Radio & Television

from Ryerson University,

an MA in Communication & Culture

from York University, and

a PhD in Screen Cultures from

Northwestern University.


Most of my work as a scholar, teacher, or media-maker, can be connected to one underlying question that intrigues and excites me:


What happens when we are making moving images?


I am very curious about the role of bodily movement and gesture in filmmaking techniques (the process of shooting, editing, animating) and about how the development media technology shapes our understanding of what it means to "move" an image and "be moved" by it.

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