Chyrons for the Future

17 February 2022 – 5 March 2023

About the Exhibition

Curated By

Crystal Mowry

Organized & Circulated By

The MacKenzie Art Gallery

Galleries

Schumiatcher Theatre

It is impossible to watch broadcast news without encountering a chyron. Since their introduction in the 1970s, these ubiquitous text graphics have taken up residence in the lower third of television screens. What was once a simple means to superimpose one news story on another has transformed into a zone where real-time fact-checking or other counternarratives can emerge. What if the chyron is the final evolutionary move for a waning medium shaped by corporate interests? If the post-internet era means that anyone who has a cell phone is capable of journalism, how does that stand to change what we understand to be worthy of public record?  

In concert with the forthcoming exhibition titled What the Bat Knows and in response to the 50th anniversary of the influential Ways of Seeing television series, the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s 2022/2023 theatre programming will explore experimental approaches to documentary filmmaking and attempts to glitch the public record. The series will launch with Episode 1 of Ways of Something, a kaleidoscopic visual collage compiled and curated by Toronto-based Lorna Mills. Other works by a selection of contemporary artists will explore themes such as the false neutrality of the artist’s gaze, hidden knowledge, and lateral networks. Reflecting a range of visual and auditory sensibilities, the works in Chyrons for the Future encourage us to see narration as a complex and often contradictory mission. 

PHOTOPHAGIA: The Secret Life of Plants

4 May - 17 July, 2022

PHOTOPHAGIA: The Secret Life of Plants, 2019 

Aislinn Thomas 

Courtesy of the artist 

99:00 

The Secret Life of Plants is a 1979 documentary based on a book of the same name. The content has been critiqued as pseudoscience, yet it continues to inspire reverence for plant life and a sense of cosmic interconnectedness. 

The soundtrack was created by Stevie Wonder, a fact that conspiracy theorists offer as evidence that Stevie Wonder is not actually blind. Yet Stevie Wonder was able to experience the visual aspects of The Secret Life of Plants through a simple technology: audio description, provided in a casual way. 

Gardeners, florists, plant-scientists, herbalists, master gardeners, farmers, foragers, plant-eaters, and plant enthusiasts were invited to each describe a scene of the film. Much like conventional audio description, these informal descriptions are woven into the documentary which is screened without the picture, inviting “viewers” to sit in the dark together.Aislinn Thomas 

Community description by Rachael Chong, Yvonne Ip, Aura Linsley, Theo Linsley, Maya Linsley, Sara Brubacher, Patti Lennox, Abhi Dewan, Kai Reimer Watts, Clara Jenner, Rodger Tschanz, Fan-Ling Suen, Janet L’Abbe, David Shumaker, Chris Earley, Candace McCutcheon, Anna-Marie Larsen, Marcel Visser, Dennis Murphy, Stephanie Jenner, Felix Morrell, Marlene deGroot-Maggetti, Sally Ludwig, Lea Tran, & Maria Brown. 

Editing and tech support by Nathan Saliwonchyk. 

Produced by Ontario Culture Days, 2019. 

The artist gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts’ support of the research and creation of this work. 

Ways of Something, Episode 1

17 February - 1 May, 2022

Ways of Something, Episode 1 

Curated and compiled by Lorna Mills 

Courtesy of the artist and TRANSFER, Brooklyn 

31:02 

Mature Content Advisory: nudity and sexuality. 

 

Ways of Something is a contemporary remake of John Berger’s BBC documentary, Ways of Seeing (1972). The project consists of one-minute videos by over 114 network-based artists who commonly work with 3D rendering, gifs, film remix, webcam performances, and websites to describe the cacophonous conditions of artmaking after the internet.  

Curated and compiled by Lorna Mills, this remake is based on a four-part series of thirty-minute films created by art theorist John Berger and produced by Mike Dibb. In the original films, voice-of-God narration over iconic European paintings offer a careful dissection of traditional “fine art” media and the way society has come to understand them as art. This current project invited artists to respond to what Berger called “learned assumptions” about art in dialogue with the camera and the screen in its reproduction. 

It is, in effect, art about art about television about the internet.  

Featuring formal, figural and kitsch practices to videomaking, Ways of Something consists of aesthetically diverse interpretations of Berger’s ideas on looking at art after the introduction of digital media. Ultimately, it turns the highbrow nature of documentary film into a wondrous and disjointed series of alternative outlooks on how artists understand art today. – Lorna Mills 

Joe MacKay, still from Ways of Something, Episode 1, Minute 15, 2014. Complied by Lorna Mills and commissioned by arts organization The One Minutes for the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. © Lorna Mills

Participating Artists:  

Episode 1  

Minute 1:  Daniel Temkin  

Minute 2:  Rollin Leonard  

Minute 3:  Sara Ludy  

Minute 4:  Rhett Jones  

Minute 5:  Jaakko Pallasvuo  

Minute 6:  Dafna Ganani  

Minute 7:  Jennifer Chan  

Minute 8:  Rea McNamara    

Minute 9:  Theodore Darst  

Minute 10: Matthew Williamson  

Minute 11: Hector Llanquin  

Minute 12: Christina Entcheva  

Minute 13: V5MT a.k.a Małgosia Woźnica  

Minute 14: Marisa Olson  

Minute 15: Joe McKay  

Minute 16: Carla Gannis  

Minute 17: Nicholas O’Brien  

Minute 18: Eva Papamargariti  

Minute 19: Rosa Menkman  

Minute 20: Kristin Lucas 

Minute 21: Jeremy Bailey & Kristen D. Schaffer  

Minute 22: Giselle Zatonyl  

Minute 23: Paul Wong  

Minute 24: Alfredo Salazar-Caro  

Minute 25: Sally McKay  

Minute 26: RM Vaughan & Keith Cole & Jared Mitchell  

Minute 27: Andrew Benson  

Minute 28: Christian Petersen  

Minute 29: Faith Holland  

Minute 30: Jennifer McMackon 

Jennifer Chan, still from Ways of Something, Episode 1, Minute 7, 2014. Complied by Lorna Mills and commissioned by arts organization The One Minutes for the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. © Lorna Mills

Carla Gannis, still from Ways of Something, Episode 1, Minute 16, 2014. Complied by Lorna Mills and commissioned by arts organization The One Minutes for the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. © Lorna Mills