Photo of David Mcintosh
Photo of David Mcintosh
David Mcintosh
Associate Professor
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies
416-977-6000, Ext. 1723

Area(s) of Expertise

Media Studies, Digital Theory and Production, Network Theory


David McIntosh is Associate Professor, Media Studies, in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences/School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCADU. He is also a visual artist, film producer, scriptwriter and curator in film, video and digital media. The subject of his Ph.D. in Communication and Cultural Studies at York University was the rise of globalization, decentralized media structures and distributed networks, considered through theoretical frameworks the political-economies of communications and actor-network theories. He considers questions of resistance and the possibilities generated when increasing numbers of people access "the power of expression" of distributed media. OCAD students are among these people, and McIntosh is integrates his historical/theoretical work into constructing possibilities for expression students "inside and outside the classroom. Significant also is the fact that McIntosh communicates his expertise with local media constructions and innovations to an international audience, through regular trips to Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico, where he lectures at leading universities on his research. That research has multiple points of focus, including: globalization and the political-economies of audiovisual spaces, network theories and practices, new media narrativity, mobile locative media, game theory, digital documents, Latin American media, and queer media. McIntosh has lived and worked extensively in Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Argentina and Peru. Recent critical texts have focused on a range of art, design and technology subjects including art and design methods as they apply to mobile media, and the role of state policy in mobile media innovation. As well, a key focus of his critical writing has been the work of visual artists Kent Monkman and Robert Houle. Says longtime friend and colleague Judith Doyle, former Chair of Integrated Media at OCADU, –As director of the seminal Funnel Experimental Film Centre in Toronto's early –80s, David McIntosh's approach melded creation, curation, publication, exhibition, distribution and new media research. For 25 years, he's sustained this dexterity, in the process building the groundwork for interdisciplinary studies and –research/creation"development. He continues to contest and redraw boundaries between art and academic research, activism and theoretical analysis. He is an incendiary screenwriter/collaborator, compassionate writer/programmer and, in assessing global networks and technologies, a fearless tactician.– McIntosh recently returned to Peru by virtue of his ongoing research and creation in the field of networks and the redistribution of representational power. In 2007, he was artist in residence at the Amauta New Media Centre in Cusco, Peru, where he began the research and development of a distributed, digital documentary based in mobile media uses in Cusco's –informal"economy. In –Mobile Translocal Media Practices: Case studies of the intersection of art and new technologies in Cusco, Peru"(David McIntosh and Patricio Davila), McIntosh discusses the work, its context, and his own points of entry: "The immediate inspiration for my mobile locative media artist's residency was the explosion of cell phone usage in Cusco since 2006. Independent street vendors, almost entirely Quechua people serving as mobile human cell phone kiosks, began to appear in late 2006 selling flat-rate calls. A year later, these individual innovators had developed into a parallel cell phone service provider network, a site of capital accumulation, job creation and new service provision, all within the informal street vendor economy. By the end of 2007, Cusco was swarming with human cell phone booths, an effervescent bottom-up market of providers and users that developed among people traditionally excluded from all forms of technologized communication. They are actors in their own networks, as well as potential actors in an array of new mobile experience networks that we are now designing jointly." A real focus for McIntosh is the creation of new/mobile media applications to develop a distributed documentary that brings lost Cusco creative histories into public spaces. This has involved extensive primary archival research in photography, film, text and music archives as well as the design of mobile media interfaces. The result is Qosqo Llika ( ), a mobile media documentary that appears in numerous fragments, on a range of mobile screens in a variety of locations. This innovative new media artwork recuperates and recontextualizes Cusco cultural histories for its 500,000 permanent residents, almost half of them Quechua people, and for the estimated 250,000 tourists that pass through the city each year, almost exclusively for the purpose of visiting pre-Colombian Incan ruins. More recent local cultural expressions have been eclipsed by the needs of the tourism industry, to the point that many Cusco residents are not aware of their own history, except for that history staged as spectacle for tourists. This project renders visible the largely invisible but crucial history of Cusco during the period of 1910 to 1930, a period of radical innovation in cultural production and in the intellectual reformation of the Peruvian nation based in indigenous cultures. McIntosh feels that his own practice helps students see history as a –living, changing thing."In 2007 he resurrected a bit of Canadian history in The Haunting, a cell phone game designed for use in Montreal's Mount Royal Park. The game, which utilizes park history, notably the real histories of those buried on the mountain, including Canada's last hangman, was a project that developed out of the Mobile Digital Commons Network, a national mobile media research initiative that worked to enhance public park experiences through mobile media. As a creative lead and project director, McIntosh helped to develop what would become an innovative prototype for a location-based mobile documentary ghost-capture game "The Haunting "that delivers, through bluetooth beacons and the Mobile Experience Engine (MEE) software, an engaging experience for mobile phone users. McIntosh has curated film, video and new media programs for the Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematheque Ontario, the Hot Docs Documentary Festival, the National Gallery of Cuba, the National Gallery of Argentina, and the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). In 2007, he was commissioning curator of –Testbed,"OCAD's contribution to Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. Testbed's very successful program featured several new media installation works, which included never-before-seen offerings by established visual and digital media artists Robert Houle, Judith Doyle, Noam Gonick and Simone Jones, as well as emerging artists Lorena Salome, Alissa Firth-Eagland and Brenda Goldstein. McIntosh is also an award-winning documentary film producer (Tina in Mexico, 2002) and dramatic screenwriter (Stryker, 2004). In 2008, David McIntosh became the recipient of the first-ever OCAD Award for Distinguished Research and Creation. This honour is conferred on the basis of a strong portfolio of research, scholarship and creative activity, and also on the impact that activity has had on the broad spectrum of art and design research and practice internationally. The award also recognizes contributions toward undergraduate and graduate research and scholarly training. Says Eric Nay, former Associate Dean in OCADU's Faculty of Liberal Studies: –David McIntosh is not only a committed and creative researcher with a phenomenal background that spans many years and many countries, he is also providing leadership and diligently working to establish programs, envision curricula and hire new faculty to further new media studies at OCAD.– McIntosh is currently Principle Investigator on the SSHRC funded research and creation project titled Quipucamayoc. This art and technology project merges a range of contemporary art forms "including gaming, electroacoustical music, dance, experimental theatre, textile and wearables design "to construct a prototype of a new communication network. The innovation in this network is that it is not based in text or language but embodied, performative, sensorial. The network will be engaged and activated through body sensor arrays, serving simultaneously as game controllers and musical instruments, worn by ten movement artists to co-create live interactive generative narratives and music. The co-located network joining Cusco, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, is designed to reflect the nature of centuries of interactions between these two cities. The research and creation team for the project includes artists, historians, theorists and technical experts in Peru, Argentina and Canada. The literary and metaphoric aspects of the project are inspired by the Huarochiri Manuscript, a 16th century written compilation of pre-colombian Andean religious rites, which offers a complex and fragmented narrative structure, as well as rich visual and sound passages, to the framing of Quipucamayoc. Quipucamayoc is being developed and presented by the collective of 30 people who currently comprise the Ayllu Intiwatana Laboratory. The launch and public presentation of the completed project is scheduled for November 2016 in Cusco and Buenos Aires.


Ph.D., Communications and Culture, York University (2005) Master of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, York University (1999) Bachelor of Arts with Distinction, Linguistics, Carlton University & University of Ottawa (1980) Diploma, Film Production - Screenwriting and Editing, Algonquin College (1981)

Awards \ Grants

2010 Museum Of Modern Art, New York, Permanent Collection Acquisiton of Feature Film "Stryker" 2009 Canada Council, New Media Production Grant 2008 OCAD Award for Distinguished Research & Creation 2005 Heritage Canada, Mobile Digital Commons Network, Ontario College of Art and Design, Interactive Digital Games Researcher and Designer 2005 Canada Council, Screenwriting Grant 2004 Telefilm Canada, Screenwriting and Production Grants 2004 SHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2002-2004) 2003 Canada Council, Curatorial and Travel Grant 2003 Tina in Mexico, Best Arts Documentary, Official Competition, Havana Film Festival 2003 Tina in Mexico, Best Arts Documentary, Official Competition, Rose D?Or Media Festival, Berne, Switzerland 2003 Tina in Mexico, Best Arts Documentary, Best Script, Best Cinematography, Golden Sheaf Awards, Golden Sheaf Awards, Yorkton, Canada 2002 Canadian Ministry of External Affairs, Canada-Mexico Professional Exchange Grant

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

Juror, Film and Video Fellowships, Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 2004 Jury Member, Best Experimental Work Jury, Suenos Cortos Film and Video Festival, Buenos Aires, 2003 Juror, Toronto Arts Council, Annual Grants to Visual Arts Organizations, 1994-1998 Juror, Manitoba Film and Video Awards, various categories, 1998 Juror, Montreal International Short Film Festival, Best Film Award, 1996 Juror, Manitoba Film and Video Awards, various categories, 1996 Juror, Toronto Arts Council, Grants to Visual Artists, 1994 Juror, Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Arts Writers, 1994 Juror, Canada Council, Media Arts, Annual Grants to Exhibition Organizations, 1993 Juror, Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Periodicals, 1993 Juror, Ontario Arts Council, Grants to Media Artists