Intermediality: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies is a bilingual academic journal (French and English), publishing articles as well as contributions in research-creation, which encompass a variety of objects, mediums, and conceptual perspectives. In accordance with the journal’s mandate to valorize intermedial artistic practices, each issue also features the work of one or more guest artists.
With the purpose of deepening and renewing contextual approaches in the humanities, Intermediality examines the relationship between mediums, technologies, institutions, collective imaginaries and social discourses. It covers a wide range of disciplines including media studies, film studies, literature, history of art, and communications as well as architecture, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy.
The journal publishes two issues per year, grouped thematically around a single verb in the infinitive, which points to gestures, practices, or events to be explored in the context of their mediality.
Orientation of the journal
Surpassing the frameworks of intertextuality and interdiscursivity, intermediality “observes that a work does not only function in its more or less evident debt to other works, or in its mobilization of discursive practices (usurped, whenever necessary), but also in recourse to the institutions which allow for its efficacy as well as through the medium or material support which determines its effectiveness. […] [T]he efficacy orchestrated by the institutions and the effectiveness brought about by the techniques and the materials ultimately produce effects of meaning” (Éric Méchoulan, “Intermédialités : le temps des illusions perdues,” Intermediality, no. 1 “Naître,” 2003, p. 10.).
From this perspective, the journal Intermediality proposes to approach cultural works and productions as processes of mediation, with the purpose of dislodging our reflection from narrower approaches, which limit it to the analysis of either information and entertainment media or art mediums. In its larger project, mediality can “account for modes of objectification, transmission and circulation of cultural expression in all its forms. It can thus designate objects and machines as much as discursive formations or forms of sociality” (Luc Gwiazdzinski and Will Straw, “Introduction,” Intermediality, no. 26 “habiter (la nuit)/inhabiting (the night),” 2015, §10). In this sense, an intermedial analysis means paying special attention to the singularity of objects, environments and experiences as well as trusting their heuristic potential. Importantly, the intermedial analysis does not privilege technological determinism, nor does it aim to identify macrosocial logics, all the while remaining attentive to the structuring effects of various forms of materiality implicated in the production of meaning.
As an interdisciplinary journal, Intermediality distinguishes itself in its emphasis on a theoretical as well as a historical contextualization: the journal welcomes a wide range of conceptual perspectives and embraces the idea of a necessary methodological and theoretical diversity, responding to the particularity of the proposed case studies. Thanks to this openness, the journal aims to constitute an arena for conceptual inventiveness in the study of the relationships between cultural expressions and social practices. Finally, Intermediality attributes an important role to contemporary art practices in their capacity to engage, reflect, and think through the intermedial.
Intermediality was founded in 2003 by Eric Mechoulan within the context of the Centre for Research on Intermediality (CRI) at the University of Montreal. The journal was edited by Johanne Lamoureux from 2006 to 2009, by Philippe Despoix from 2009 to 2013, and is presently under the editorial supervision of Marion Froger. Since its inception, Intermediality has facilitated the “intellectual encounter between a local network of thinkers” and “an extended international collective,” and has thus contributed to “the development and visibility of a proper problematic of intermediality, which is not reducible to approaches practiced elsewhere,” as enunciated by Philippe Despoix:
Certainly, our reflections were developed in opposition—most often critical—to the methodological developments in France, the works of the Kittlerian school of thought in the Germanic world, as well as the intermedia studies practiced in Northern Europe and the United States. Rather, our exploration was inspired by the local developments in the thinking of “early cinema,” which invigorated the study of the medium by transposing it to an open, multidisciplinary framework and directing it towards multiple intermedial perspectives drawn equally from the history of print and reading practices as well as from Warburgian interpretations of the function of art. It is not insignificant that these intermedial practices should have found a singular fertile ground precisely in the fragile interstices so characteristic of Montreal and responsible for the porosity of the city’s cultural and institutional boundaries [Philippe Despoix, “Introduction: Traverser dix ans d’Intermédialités,” Intermediality, no. 20, “traverser/crossing,” 2012-2013, §5].
In 2013, after ten years of existence and twenty print issues, Intermediality became an online journal distributed on the scholarly portal Érudit in three digital formats: HTML, PDF, and EPUB. This progressive transformation has allowed the journal to begin publishing materials inaccessible in paper format, namely video and audio recordings, databases, interactive websites, and others. In the spirit of our staple rubric “Guest Artist,” a singular feature of the journal since its print days, these new formats appear not only as illustrations to articles, but also in new rubrics such as “Research-Creation” and “Counterpoints—Web Radio Segments,” which testifies to the journal’s growing recognition of the crossing over between theory and media practices.