Experts in: Media theory
My research concerns the history and sociology of science and technology and, more specifically, since 1990, the history and sociology of cyberculture. I began by conducting in-depth research into the origins of personal informatics, by describing the evolution of Douglas Engelbart’s laboratory at the Stanford Research Institute and how his ideas and creations (the mouse, the proto graphic interface, hypertext) migrated to Xerox PARC and Apple. Since 2001 I have been extending this work with research into the other fundamental evolution of cybernetic synthesis, i.e. molecular biology, by reconstructing its recent history from its lesser-known side, the “non-coding” part of DNA, which American researchers dubbed “junk DNA.” This research was published in 2011 by the University of Minnesota Press, as Junkware. Since 2008 I have been concentrating on combining my analyses of these two cybernetic evolutions, informatics and molecular biology, for a study of the issue of post-humanity, or more generally the engineering of the post-human (but also post-animal and post-machine) creature.
I am currently completing a research program funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, entitled “Post-animaux : ce que les animaux technologiquement modifiés peuvent nous révéler du futur (post)humain.” My goal is to make a “detour via animals” to develop an ethnographic view of bio-engineering without analyzing the essentially discursive practices of bioethics and science fiction.
- Media Studies
- Media arts
- Materialites and infrastructures
- Digital culture
- Media history
- Media theory
I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the Université de Montréal, specializing in media studies, media arts, and research-creation. I also regularly venture into other disciplines such as art history and STS. My primary interests are the politics and aesthetics of media as materials and infrastructures; the meeting points between culture and technology; and questions of the body and identity in technological contexts and interactions. I’m currently particularly engaged in projects centered on the protocols of identification, authentication, and recognition.
My next book project, tentatively called High-Tech Paper: A Media History of Security Aesthetics, is a historical and theoretical study of security printing and its artefacts (passports, banknotes, etc.). In a budding new project I’m thinking about human-machine interaction in an age of machine listening. I’m interested in invisible disabilities, and particularly to start in the algorithmic programming of technologies of speech and voice recognition that define and reproduce ideas about what it means to be a “good” speaker, and the consequences of being dysfluent and “out-of-sync.”
I am also co-investigator in the Archive/Counter-Archive: Activitating Canada's Moving Image Heritage partnership, which is working to “activate” Canadian moving image archives (SSHRC Partnership). And, I'm leading the project Nano-Verses, a collaboration with artists and scientists that is at once a speculation on the possibilities of new nano-optical medium and a reflection on the nature of interdisciplinary work. My first book is Polish Media Art in an Expanded Field (Intellect/University of Chicago Press, 2016).