His research focuses primarily on the modern period (19th century to WWII) with particular interests in film and media, visual culture and the history of the body. His books include Technology’s Pulse. Rhythm in German Modernism (2012), Walter Ruttmann and the Cinema of Multiplicity (1914) and The Promise of Cinema. German Film Theory 1907-1933. He has also published numerous articles on cinema, media and visual culture.
Her current research focuses on the intersection between expanded cinema, architecture, and the security industry. She has published in journals such as Animation, Screen, Semiotica, and New Cinemas. Her monograph,Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Political Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Duke University Press, 2013) situates the Japanese avant-garde filmmaking and its appropriation of high-profile media events in the wider political context.
He is author of books dealing with the history of media, thought, and material culture, with projects ranging from the communication networks of 9th century Japan (Uncovering Heian Japan), to silent cinema and the global imaginary (Shadows on the Screen) and animation technologies (The Anime Machine). He has also edited volumes on the impacts of modernity in East Asia, on pre-emptive war, and, as Associate Editor of Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, volumes on manga, anime, and fan cultures. Together with graduate students and faculty from McGill University, Concordia University, and Université de Montréal, he is developing the Manga and Anime Archive and Database (MAAD) within the Moving Image Research Laboratory.
She has recently completed a book about American experimental cinema of the 1960s and 1970s entitled Flesh Cinema: The Corporeal Turn in American Avant-Garde Cinema (forthcoming, Manchester University Press) that focuses on the representations of the body in the work of six experimental filmmakers from the period: Barbara Rubin, Andy Warhol, Stan Brakhage, Carolee Schneemann, Yoko Ono and Paul Sharits. She is a 2010 recipient of the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and has published essays on film in journals such as Camera Obscura, Frameworks, Film Quarterly, and The Brooklyn Rail, as well as anthologies such as Porn Studies; Women’s Experimental Cinema; Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image; Experimental Film: Missing Frames; and Warhol in Ten Takes.
She is a medical and visual anthropologist whose research on contemporary and historical forms of care in the Canadian Arctic contributes to the emerging subfield of sensory ethnography. Through an attention to modes of knowing that are not uniquely language-based, she hopes to capture—on video and in text—the experience of disjuncture when radically different forms of care intersect. Her current ethnographic film project To Make Them Well concerns the Inuit experience of being forced to leave their home communities and live for an undetermined period of time in a southern tuberculosis sanatorium. Rather than a straightforward expository narrative, the film hopes to capture one of the most striking aspects of the dislocation this produced: the way the possibility of communication, verbal and non-verbal, was put into question. Her previous ethnographic film, El Reflejo (2010), (created with Eduardo Kohn) concerned the relationship between memory, objects and death in the life of an elderly Jewish WWII refugee living in Quito, Ecuador.
Her research brings together questions of affect, media and the body, with a special focus on contemporary cinema, animation, and screendance. Her book, Bodies in Time: Suspense, Affect, Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming) reorients the affective turn in critical theory through a careful attention to the temporal dimension of the cinematic body in films by David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, Lou Ye, Christian Marclay, David Cronenberg and more. She is also currently completing two other book projects, one on Canadian animator Norman McLaren, and a second on “Anarchival Cinemas”, exploring dance and performance movement on screen and on stage in post-cinematic production. Through a focus on “event ecologies” in contemporary media and performance, Thain explores encounters with media as lived experiences and provides new conceptual models for thinking cinema and other media in their movement between platforms, mediums and bodies. Her work, on figures such as William Kentridge, Marie Chouinard, and David Lynch has appeared in journals such as Intermédialités, Parallax, differences and more, and in collections such as David Lynch in Theory. She is also an editor of Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation.