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Dr. Marcel O’Gorman is a University Research Chair, Professor of English, and Founding Director of the Critical Media Lab (CML), where he teaches courses, leads collaborative projects, and directs workshops in digital design and the philosophy of technology. The CML is located inside the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, where its role is to disseminate a philosophy of “tech for good.”
O’Gorman has published widely about the impacts of technology on society, including his most recent book Necromedia and articles in Slate, The Atlantic, and The Globe and Mail. He is also a digital artist with an international portfolio of exhibitions and performances. This experience guides the creative hands-on methods espoused by the Critical Media Lab and outlined in detail in his forthcoming book Making Media Theory (Bloomsbury, 2020). O’Gorman’s most recent research looks at “Digital Abstinence: The Art, Philosophy, and Politics of Unplugging.” This project brings together social science researchers, designers, and tech companies, with the hope of tackling some of the moral and ethical issues faced by contemporary technoculture. With this in mind, O’Gorman recently invented Resistor Case, a phone case and lesson plan designed to promote self-regulation with digital devices in high school classrooms.
Making Media Theory: Thinking Critically With Technology. New York: Bloomsbury, 2020.
“Designing Technological Comportment: On Wearable Technology, Digital Rituals, and Non-Users.” In Embodied Computing. Ed. Isabel Pedersen and Andrew Iliadis. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2020.
“The Techlash Is Coming.” The Globe and Mail. October 19, 2018.
“The Reckoning: Silicon Valley Confronts its Digital Sins.” The Globe and Mail. March 29, 2018.
“Writing With a Soldering Iron.” In The Routledge Companion to Digital Writing and Rhetoric. Ed. Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes. New York: Routledge, 2017.
“The Making of a Digital Humanities Neo-Luddite.” In Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities. Ed. Jentery Sayers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
Necromedia. University of Minnesota Press (Posthumanities Series), 2015.
“Taking Care of Digital Dementia.” CTheory, 2015.
"Speculative Realism in Chains: A Love Story." Angelaki, 2013
“Broken Tools and Misfit Toys: Adventures in Applied Media Theory,” Canadian Journal of Communication. 37.1 (2012).
E-Crit: Digital Media, Critical Theory and the Humanities. University of Toronto Press, 2005.
Treachery, (sculptural interactive video installation on an arcade cabinet) 2019
Digital Tabernacle, (street performance to promote digital abstinence) 2015
Myth of the Steersman (sculptural interactive video installation in an antique canoe)
Spleenhouse (architectural video installation in a relocated greenhouse)
Dreadmill (performance with video controlled by treadmill)
See additional work at: http://marcelogorman.net
Fellowships & Awards
- 2018 - SSHRC Connection Grant: “Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts"
- 2017 - University Research Chair
- 2016 - SSHRC Insight Grant: “Digital Abstinence: The Art, Philosophy, and Politics of Unplugging"
- 2016 - Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant: "Critical Prototyping Suite"
- 2010 - SSHRC Research/Creation Grant: “The Techno-Pharmakon"
- 2009 - SSHRC Standard Research Grant: “Necromedia"
- 2008 - Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant, 2008 "Visualization and Biotelematics Environment"
While my research may be thematically driven it always moves across disciplines. For example, my current project on “Digital Abstinence” involves designing digital art installations and performances, interviewing Old Order Mennonites, shaping device usage policies at school boards, and conducting research on “mind wandering” with a Cognitive Psychology lab. This means that any given time I am working on several projects with a number of collaborators from diverse disciplines and communities. My future research plans include a more intense focus on “digital rituals,” which ranges from behaviours learned from persuasive interfaces to algorithmic rituals that determine who or what is in control of an individual’s data. This research stems from my interest in how embodiment intersects with automation. I will also continue to work on the Tech for Good initiative with Communitech and Deloitte, developing workshops, tools, and policies to help tech companies integrate ethics more carefully into their organizations.
Areas of graduate supervision
- Critical theory
- Media theory
- Digital humanities
- Digital art and design
- New critical methodologies