Presenting as part of the session: Skywalks and Suburbia - Saturday, November 6 at 10:30 am
Janine Marchessault is a Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization at York University. She is the author of Marshall McLuhan: Cosmic Media (Sage 2005) and is the (co)editor of several collections including Mirror Machine: Video and Identity (YYZ Books+CRCCI 1994); Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women’s Cinema (University of Toronto Press 1999); Wild Science: Reading Feminism, Medicine and the Media (Routledge 2000) and Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema (University of Toronto Press 2007). She is a founder of the Future Cinema Lab which is devoted to “new stories for new screens”; and she is the Director of the www.visiblecity.ca which is examining artists’ cultures in the context of globalization. She is a founding member of Public Access, a curatorial collective that seeks to experiment with the public places available for the display and experience of art works.
Janine Marshessault's talk:
Mourning Suburbs: Art and Development
TThis talk will discuss The Leona Drive Project (2009)—a site specific exhibition and history project that took place in six 1940s bungalows slated for demolition in a North Toronto suburb. In much of the literature on the culture of cities, North American suburban spaces are generally left out of any discussion of urban culture. The popular cinema has done its part in reinforcing this absence, picturing suburbs as uniform and homogenous white enclaves, or/and surreal settings for horror films. The utopian and dystopian articulations of the suburb in post-war media culture have produced powerful cultural imaginaries that have conflated ‘Suburbia’ with generic corollaries like industrial parks, gated communities, shopping malls, car culture, sprawl and so on. Suburbs and urban sprawl are often used as a shorthand for the erosion of public urban culture and the civitas enabled by face to face encounters in the core city. The future of suburbs and the cultures that grow out of them will be addressed through a number of recent artists’ projects that have sought not only the demystification of suburbs but the re-imagining of public encounters.