Speaking

Here’s a sampling of my public speaking over the past two decades. I have almost entirely omitted the hundreds of informal gallery tours and scores of public presentations in my years as curator of European & American Art at the NGC, and the radio appearances relating to sustainable living and traffic safety. I try to list forthcoming talks but don’t always keep this page up to date.


2017

(forthcoming) 21 Feb: Safe streets presentation to the Centretown Citizens Community Association, Ottawa City Hall.

2016

Dec 12: Noontime conversation with Libby Znaimer on Zoomer Radio, Toronto  LISTEN

13 Oct: Safe streets presentation at Ottawa City Hall for Budget Speak 2016.

20 June: Mobilizing McLuhan talk at the Marshall McLuhan’s Media Practice symposium, University of Westminster Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, London (UK).

7 May: Organizer and main presenter at the Rosamond Woolworks Community Forum, pitching a revival of the Eastern Ontario wool processing tradition at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte, ON.

15 April: Leader of the panel “To Tag or Not To Tag: Digitizing Personal Scrapbooks and Photo Albums” at the Rhetorics of Art, Space, and Culture (RASC/a) conference, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.

2013

In my keynote address at the remarkable Technologies of Experience conference organized by musicologist Phil Ford and art historian Dawna Schuld (Indiana U, Bloomington) I was one of many presenters who tried to induce an experience instead of merely talking about it. It was a thing that happened.

In my talk school >> makerspace at the Dcentered II showcase in Ottawa I emphasized the need for new teaching paradigms at the high school level here in Ottawa and in Canada’s north, along the lines of Toronto’s Oasis Skateboard Factory.

2011

For the centenary of his birth I presented my extensive research into Marshall McLuhan’s archive with talks in BarcelonaBerlin and Toronto. For a video of the Berlin talk see here.

2010

“Material Wit: McLuhan as Media Practitioner.” Talk in the symposium Freeze Frame on Marshall McLuhan, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto.

“Patrimony Foul and Fair: Addressing the Challenges of Provenance Research in Canada.” Talk at the Canadian Heritage Information Network Digital Heritage Symposium, Vancouver. A talk about my efforts to step up the National Gallery’s research and restitution efforts regarding Nazi-era art.

2008

“Between Map and View: Mongrelized Depictions in Early Modern Europe.” Burke Lecture, Indiana University, Bloomington. A talk about landscape representations that defy our post-Enlightenment categories such as map and view.

2006

Long before it appeared  here on the NFB web site I introduced and presented the 2000 film Moving Pictures–Colin Low’s poetic and timely meditation on depictions of war. Following the screening in the National Gallery of Canada auditorium I had the privilege of interviewing the director whose many innovations include the so-called Ken Burns effect–i.e. enlivening an archival image by panning and zooming. Colin and I met over our mutual love of Jacques Callot, whose Miseries of War features prominently in this film. Beginning at 17:48 on the link above you can see the most sublime exposition of Callot’s printmaking technique.

2005

“Callot Again and Again.” Paper at the Paper Museums conference, University of Chicago. A paper on Jacques Callot’s radically original strategies of repetition.

Speak no Evil: Freedom of Speech on Campus. My second public debate, this time televised, in which I talk to former Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson and firebrand David Horowitz about the need to maintain free speech on campus.

My first ever public debate was at the Cal State San Marcos campus in Orange County, where I went toe-to-toe with hard-right senator Bill Morrow who was trying to legislate equal time for conservative ideas in universities. That was an exciting outdoor even attended by hundreds of students, including a whole row with their mouths covered in duct tape. This got a lot of coverage in the local papers, but I think most of those links are dead now.

Here’s an important lesson. If you’re going to be interviewed by a journalist with an opposing political persuasion, be sure to put your answers in writing so you can set the record straight.

2004

Co-Chair (with Barnaby Nygren) of the session Visual Wit and Pictorial Play in Netherlandish Art, Sixteenth Century Society and Conference Annual Meeting, Toronto.

“On Finesse.” Talk at the Art and Art History Department, Wesleyan University.

“Collecting Callot and his Contemporaries.” Talk at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.

“Construing the Oeuvre in Eighteenth-Century France.” Talk at the College Art Association conference, Seattle.

2003

“Unsettling Originality: The Sterile Genius of Jacques Callot.” Department of Art History and Communications Studies, McGill University, Montreal.

2002

“‘Cunning, Skill, Artificiallnesse’: Dexterity and Deceit in Early Modern Prints.” College Art Association annual conference, Philadelphia. Joseph Leo Koerner invited me to participate in this lively session that he chaired.

2001

“Representations of Rural Life in Renaissance France.” Talk at Brown University.

1999

Moderator for the colloquium Visual Studies and its Discontents. Humanities Center, Harvard University.

“The Ironic Artist: Originality and Repetition in the Prints of Callot.” Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, Harvard University.

1998

“French Renaissance and Baroque Festival Imagery.” Talk at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in conjunction with the exhibition French Prints from the Age of the Musketeers.”

Coordinator, with Lisa Pon, and introductory speaker for the conference Printing Matters: The Materiality of Print in Early Modern Europe. Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. This was an international symposium attended by well over a hundred people. The proceedings were later published as a double issue of the journal Word & Image.

“French Renaissance and Baroque Landscape Prints.” Lecture, NEH seminar in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, Harvard University.

“The Technical and Historical Examination of Stella’s Liberality of Louis XIII and Richelieu.” Mellon Research Fellowship Colloquium, Harvard University Art Museums. This was a presentation based on a painting that I investigated in two successive internships, which involved restoring this painting to its original oval shape with a lot of surprises along the way.

1997

“Common Ground: Describing Ottoman Conventions of Spatial Representation.” This paper, delivered in the Testing Grounds/Contesting Space conference at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, presented findings from the most rewarding student paper that I ever wrote, on 16thC architectural renderings that look flat but are actually multidimensional. This re-visioning exercise led me to see early modern European work in new ways.

1996

“Fête Accomplie: Modernist Origins of the Classic French Garden.” Lecture, with a response by Antoine Picon. Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

a little info

Art historian (PhD Harvard '03)

Founder, Principal >> smallmuseums.ca

Principal Researcher, Knowledge Design >> hpg.io

Executive Director >> VisionZero.ca / Love30.ca

McLuhan Scholar >> http://mcluhan.consortium.io/

DataViz Instructor >> designincubator.info

Sustainable Living >> slowottawa.ca | @slowottawa

If you don't like those interests, I've got others.