Shift Key

Art experiences have always existed outside the physical museum. Since the beginning of the Information Age, artists have engaged moving images, animation, telecommunication, data, gaming, applications, social media and emerging technologies as responses to a changing world. These modes have opened up ways of experiencing, feeling and knowing. They have placed art into the hands and minds of people throughout the world and bridged cultural ways of life.

In light of recent closures and limitations, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto remains committed to connecting people through art and experimentation. We continue to look to artists and creative thinkers to unlock possibility and understanding.

Beginning on Saturday March 21, MOCA will regularly post new media artwork on its website with free access to all.

Tilia Americana
Megan Rooney
April 4–April 17

Megan Rooney, Tilia Americana, 2014. 10’22”
For Tilia Americana, artist Megan Rooney created a set of five sequential, multi-framed videos with an accompanying narrated text. The videos incorporate elements of drawing, sculpture and performance, portraying women obscured by water-coloured pillow cases in different suburban situations. The audio track accompanying the videos is a voiceover of the artist reading a fractured and dreamlike prose poem.

Jon Rafman
March 28–April 10

SHADOWBANNED, 2018. HD video with stereo sound, duration 7:57. Courtesy of the artist.

The second Shift Key offering is SHADOWBANNED (2018) by Montreal-based artist Jon Rafman. SHADOWBANNED combines the aesthetics of internet conspiracy theories, video game footage and a CG recreation of the garden of Bomarzo, to tell the story of an anonymous narrator on an enigmatic journey. The film unfolds across multiple universes wherein dreams are recycled waste products and meaning has been all but lost. The narrator arms himself with artificial memories of artificial pasts in order to protect himself from the future. The work is a meditation on the perception of history and the implosion of meaning in our hyper-accelerated times.

MOCA is working with Jon on an exhibition scheduled for 2021 and thanks him for sharing this work with us at this time.

Guiding Questions

Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben
Shazad Dawood
March 21–27

Shezad DawoodThe first Shift Key offering is Shezad Dawood’s, Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben (2017). MOCA exhibited elements from Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan, an ambitious ten-part film cycle in fall 2019; the first episode can now be watched in full on MOCA’s website from Saturday, March 21–Friday, March 27. Dawood’s episodic “monster” encourages us to contemplate urgent issues, expands upon diverse research and bridges disciplines and borders to include local voices within a global forum.

“The world was ending as it had been doing for millennia.” The pilot episode, Ben, in Dawood’s epic film series combines found footage with new film and images, set against spoken word with a powerful soundtrack. We are plunged into a near future where a solar disaster has wiped out a large part of the human population. The protagonist, Ben, reminisces about his childhood spent roaming the back corridors of the Natural History Museum in London (containing, amongst other marvels, Darwin’s original specimen jars from the Beagle expedition), and his youthful fascination with the giant squid preserved in the Marine Research labs.

Learn more @leviathancycle‘s Instagram.

Image: Shezad Dawood, Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben, 2017. HD Video, 12’52”.