Jesse McLean Headshot

Jesse McLean

  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Chair, Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres


MFA, Moving Image, University of Illinois at Chicago
BA, Studio Art, Oberlin College


Jesse McLean has presented her work at museums, galleries, and film festivals worldwide, including Projections at New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Mumok Cinema in Vienna, CPH:DOX, Kassel Dokfest, Green Gallery and Impakt Festival. She was the recipient of an International Critics Prize, (FIPRESCI Prize) at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and a Jury Prize in the International Competition at the 2013 Videoex Festival in Switzerland. She was a featured artist at the 2014 Flaherty Seminar and a MacDowell Fellow in 2016. In 2016 she was selected for a Mary L. Nohl Individual Artist Fellowship and was a fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies.

McLean has dedicated her art practice to exploring what it is to be human in relation to what is not. A primary focus of her work is the power-and the failure-of the mediated experience to bring people together. Motivated by a deep curiosity regarding human behavior and the ways intimacies and connections are formed in an age of mediated experience, recent projects explore the immersion into digital culture and the fraught relationships people have with technology we both rely on and resent, and in contrasting the finite capacities of the nonhuman with infinite human desires.

Her teaching and research interests include nonfiction and narrative hybridity, appropriation and collage, sound design and and the intersection between art and popular culture. She teaches courses in editing and post-production, appropriated media and senior project capstone courses.