Kurtis Lesick

Associate Professor, Media Arts

“No thinking exists outside of our relationship with the physical world. The object—any of which may be appropriated as an art, craft, or technological artefact—is the beginning and end of all knowledge, identity, and even our most basic sense of existence.”


Kurtis Lesick is an artist, writer, researcher and creative content specialist. Lesick’s, installations, media works, digital performances, and cross-media collaborations explore the space between the object-world, and our knowledge and perception of it. Lesick’s work draws heavily on his experience in archaeology, anthropology and philosophy, as well as his love and distain for technology.

Lesick teaches in Media Arts and directs the Creative Environment for Emerging Electronic Culture. He is an adjunct professor in the Digital Futures Initiative in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto and has been visiting faculty at the Banff Centre and the University of California at Irvine. In 2012, Lesick was awarded the inaugural Peoples Choice Award for the Most Inspiration Digital Leader at the Digital Alberta Awards.

Member of AUArts faculty since 2008.


Master of Philosophy Research Degree in  Archaeology, The University of Sheffield

BA Archaeology and BA Anthropology, University of Calgary

Selected Professional Activity

Selected Exhibitions:

Turangalila Live Cinema [Director, ACAD + Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra], Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2014

Inner Waters Flowing Faster, Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2012

 (re)production: a reading for Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Digital Performance Commissioned by Dandelion Magazine for “Performance/MACHINE” edited by Kathleen Brown and Michael Nardone

Poetic Performance Lab: an interactive hour of poetic performances, textual theatre and sound action. John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, AB, Canada

Popsex! Thematic Group Show curated by Annette Timms and Michael Thomas Taylor, Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, Canada

Problems with History, Solo of 12 at the Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, Calgary, Canada

Selected digital media/interactive project:

The Agora (S.E.G.E.N.S.), (Director) Interactive screen and web-based news and community building intervention. Researcher: Angus Leech; Programmers: Paul Robert and Craig Fahner, 2013-present

Iran Do Espirito Santo: Drawings and Manifestos . Documentary Video, Codirectors: Noam Gonick and Kurtis Lesick, in collaboration with Martha Affleck, Kyle Anderson, Dani Anderson and Kirk Loveland . Producer: Corus Entertainment / W. Baerwaldt (Canada, 2013, 9 minutes), 2013

The Vulcan Explorer, (Director) Interactive edutainment experience at the Vulcan Trek Station, Vulcan, Alberta, Canada, 2011

Good Medicine – Producer/Director of an Experimental Documentary on Aboriginal Perspectives on health and wellness in Alberta. Funded by Health Canada, AACTI, ACAD, Keyano College, 2009

Problems with History (Elements 13, 14, 15) – 3 videobased installations exploring issues in historical representation installed at the Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, Calgary, Canada, 2008

Problems with History (Element 14) – Interviews, performances, and audio video installation conducted/installed at the Banff Centre, Banff, Canada, that explores the creation, exchange and destruction of history, 2007

In the Shadow of Progress (multiplatform digital documentary) – personal and subjective explorations of life in the industrial north using web, email, terrestrial phone and locative/time accessed mobile media. Developed for the National Film Board of Canada, 2007

Technosaurs/C.I.E. – branded multiplatform educational participatory narrative for ‘tweens’. Coproduced with RocketFuel Inc. and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Funders: Canada New Media Fund; Virtual Museum of Canada, 2005

Warhospital (web documentary) – intimate observations on life at the largest Red Cross war casualty facility in Lokichokio, Kenya. Project Developed for the National Film Board of Canada with the assistance of the Interactive Project Lab, 2003/04

Ghosts of Industry (ghostsofindustry.com) – experiential documentary of the industrial ghost town of Bitumount in northern Alberta. Collaborators: Jeff Dawson, Wayne Dunkley, Leonard Paul, 2001-2004

Selected Publications

Lesick, Kurtis. “Building Electronic Culture: computing at ACAD.” Journal of Computational Media Design:5 [Fall]. (2012). Ed. Marjan Eggermont and Laurel Johannesson. 1629. Web.

Lesick, Kurtis. “The Closing of the Text: A digital performance. Dandelion: performance machine. 37.2  Ed. Kathleen Brown and Michael Nardone. (2011). n.p. Web.

Lesick, Kurtis. “The First Graphic Design.” Entropic Art/Design/Communication/Culture. 2.3 (2001). N.p. [Print].

Lesick, Kurtis et al.hj “Archaeology: A Crucial Role in Ecosystem Management.” CRM. 20.4 (1997). n.p. Print.

Lesick, Kurtis. “Re-engendering Gender: some theoretical and methodological concerns on a burgeoning archaeological pursuit.” Invisible People and Processes: Writing Gender and Childhood in European Archaeology. Ed. J. Moore and E. Scott. Leicester: Leicester UP, 1997. n.p. Print.

Selected Awards

2012 AACTI AR&I Fund. Project: SEGENS | Social Engagement through GeographicallyEmbedded News Systems

2012 Digital Alberta Awards, People’s Choice Award, Most Inspirational Digital Leader

2012 AACTI Regional Innovation Network (RIN) Capacity Building Grant. Project: PAX | Programming for Aesthetic Experience

2010 FMSIC Grant, AACTI. Project: The Enterprise Challenge

2009 FMSR and FSRD Grants, AACTI. Project: Complex Input | Rational Output (CIRO) Cirolab.org

2007 First Place – “Pitchit”, Kidscreen Summit, New York. Project: Technosaurs/C.I.E.

2006 Telus Innovation Fund. Project: Technosaurs

2005 Canada New Media Fund, Telefilm Canada, Project: Technosaurs

2005 Virtual Museum of Canada Investment Program. Project: Technosaurs

2003 Interactive Project Lab, Prototyping Grant. Project: War Hospital

2001 Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund. Project: Ghosts of Industry

2001 Telus Television Fund. Project: Ghosts of Industry

2001 Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, Media Grant. Project: Ghosts of Industry