Professor Janine Marchessault is a professor of cinema and media studies at York University, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization.
Professor Marchessault's urban research has focused on the creative cultures of cities such as Berlin, Havana, Helsinki, Montreal, and Toronto. She directs the Visible City Project and an online archive [Visible City] that unites over fifty interviews with artists, urban planners, designers, and curators from a variety of countries to consider how art and communication are manifested in different geopolitical contexts. This research and archive project is an ongoing research endeavour.
One of Canada's best-known McLuhan scholars, Professor Marchessault takes up McLuhan's tragic and utopian vision of the global village. In her monograph_Marshall McLuhan: Cosmic Media (Sage Publications, 2005), Marchessault argues that McLuhan understood the value of artistic practices not in terms of creating decorative objects, but as the means to produce new kinds of awareness and perception, along with new forms of human communication and community. McLuhan also understood that the future of the planet would be centrally tied to the dynamic relation between media and pedagogy that he helped to foster.
Over the past two decades, Professor Marchessault has worked with the curatorial collective Public Access to investigate new models of urban public art. She has curated numerous large-scale public art exhibitions in Toronto and beyond, of which The Leona Drive Project (2009), Museum for the End of the World (2012), and Land/slide, Possible Futures (2013) are the most recent. These site-specific investigations have invited local and international artists to reimagine sustainability and urban planning in the context of our present economic and ecological crises.
Professor Marchessault is the author of ten monographs and edited volumes and over fifty articles in books, journals, and catalogues devoted to cinema, new media, and contemporary art. She is a past president of the Film Studies Association of Canada and is a founder of the Future Cinema Lab, which is devoted to creating "new stories for new screens." She has lectured widely and has held faculty positions at McGill University, Ryerson University, and the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television.