Films by Mona Hatoum, Allora & Calzadilla, Theo Eshetu and Others to Be Screened Online by MOCA Toronto

Home / Films by Mona Hatoum, Allora & Calzadilla, Theo Eshetu and Others to Be Screened Online by MOCA Toronto
Films by Mona Hatoum, Allora & Calzadilla, Theo Eshetu and Others to Be Screened Online by MOCA Toronto

Tuan Andrew Nguyen The Boat People, 2020 (still). Single-channel video, 4k, Super 16mm transferred to digital, color, 5.1 surround sound © Tuan Andrew Nguyen 2021. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York. (All images courtesy MOCA Toronto)

While many institutions are inching back to business-as-usual programming, others are continuing to emphasize virtual programs that offer incisive and accessible art experiences to their audiences. The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto has just announced the winter season of Shift Key, their streaming film platform.

Shift Key is a critically acclaimed and much-watched platform for the work of cutting-edge international contemporary artists and curators,” said MOCA Executive Director and CEO Kathleen Bartels, in a press release on the 2021–2022 season. “This edition of Shift Key brings international perspectives to MOCA’s fall programming, and provides a dynamic portal for MOCA to engage audiences beyond the Museum proper.”

Cecilia Vicuña, Paracas, 1983. Video still. Courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix

MOCA launched Shift Key in spring 2020 in order to present and support artists, expand digital offerings, and maintain programming consistency through the uncertainty of COVID restrictions. The inaugural program was curated in house, but MOCA now invites guest curators to select artworks that feel relevant at this moment and can be shared online to watch for free. Previous curators have included Daisy Desrosiers and Native Art Department International (Jason Lujan and Maria Hupfield). Videos have a one-month window for active viewing, and thereafter remain as an image and associated materials, forming an online archive

This season’s program has been guest curated by Carly Whitehead, and is titled What we carry forward. The series draws inspiration from explorations of inheritance and the public realm elaborated across GTA21’s physical and digital spaces. Unfolding over the course of four months, Shift Key will feature pairings of artists’ films, videos, and animation that “open up questions of legacies and spectres, ownership and agency,” according to the website.

On view November 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022, the program begins with Samson Kambalu’s A Thousand Years (2013) and Dogs See Invisible Things (2016) and Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn’s The Boat People (2020). These first two are part of Kambalu’s ongoing ‘Nyau Cinema’ series, a group of short films featuring spontaneous site-specific performances in public space often recorded by strangers. The films are informed equally by the aesthetics of early cinema and the improvised screenings Kambalu attended as a child in Malawi in the 1980s. Nguyễn’s film, The Boat People is set at the precarious edge of humanity’s possible extinction, and follows a group of children who travel the seas and collect the stories of a world they never knew through objects that survived.

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