MOCA Virtual Talks

Welcome to MOCA’s Virtual Talks, where you will find interviews with artists, talks and public programmes since our opening in 2018 in the Tower Automotive Building.

We will be continually expanding our collection to bring you art wherever you are. Visit our events calendar to attend future events.

Video by Lulu Wei. Edited by Lester Lubuguin.

“In everything sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start…”

The title of Carlos Bunga’s current exhibition at MOCA, A Sudden Beginning, is appropriated from Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, particularly the passage on “Suddenness.” This title was chosen for its connection to forceful energies and the potential that Bunga observes in ruptures and ruins. As Burke writes, “In everything sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start…”

As we enter the second half of the year, we ask ourselves: where do we go from here? How do we, a museum, recognize the crises and tragedies that have unfolded and the state of uncertainty that we find ourselves in today? Can we mourn and initiate change at the same time?

We recognize that one way forward is to readjust our perspective. We are motivated by a new sense of connectivity, positive environmental impacts and the urgent call for justice and equity. We acknowledge that we need to fully receive the weight of the present moment; that we must respond and participate more effectively in the transformation and health of our society. MOCA’s mission states that we invigorate and reflect the diversity of our city, yet we know we have work to do to deepen these commitments and engage further with the communities we serve.

As we work towards reopening, we are reflecting internally on our institutional structure and mandate, and how we can make long-term changes that actively dismantle systemic racism and focus on care across all that we do. We will be sharing information about these actions in the coming weeks and months.

Carlos Bunga, A Sudden Beginning, remains installed on the ground and second floor of the museum. We look forward to welcoming you again to MOCA this summer.

Spotlights: Yazan Khalili

For the first in our Spotlights programme, MOCA welcomes artist Yazan Khalili as he discusses his practice and his recently commissioned installation, Medusa, currently on at MOCA through November 15, 2020. Here, Yazan discusses how he became interested in facial recognition technologies and how the mythological figure of Medusa stands as a powerful metaphor of resistance.

Intervening A Sudden Beginning Performance

Intervening A Sudden Beginning marked the opening of MOCA’s 2020 winter exhibitions on February 5, 2020 and took place within and alongside Carlos Bunga’s large-scale cardboard installation, Occupy.

Interview with Shelagh Keeley

Shelagh Keeley combines a series of tarp paintings from 1986, a film projection from 2016, and a brand-new ephemeral wall drawing — the latter of which she created on-site over the course of several weeks in January 2020.

Archiving Eden: A Discussion

Dornith Doherty will discuss her long-term photographic work Archiving Eden, an extensive project that documents the complex issues surrounding the role of science and human agency in preserving biodiversity. She will be joined by MOCA’s Learning Coordinator, Alexandra Brickman, as well as Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti and Ivana Obradovic, the facilitators of Archiving Eden: Exchange.

Alan Emery in conversation with Jonathon Gatehouse

Marine biologist, Alan Emery, and journalist, Jonathon Gatehouse, discuss the immense changes occurring in the oceans and how these shifts are affecting Canada, a country with three ocean coasts

Carlos Bunga at Art Toronto 2019

Bunga uses mass-produced materials such as cardboard, adhesive tape and household paint to produce site-specific, process-focused installations. Through his work, Bunga not only encourages viewers to rethink their experience of space and architecture, but also evokes the transient and fragile nature of urban structures.

From the Bay Area to the Arctic: Shezad Dawood and Alice Xia Zhu

Artist Shezad Dawood is joined by researcher Alice Xia Zhu for a conversation that addresses the fate of microplastics in marine and freshwater contexts, from the San Francisco Bay to the Arctic.

Age of You Curators’ Talk: Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, Victoria Sin and November Paynter

The curators of MOCA’s fall exhibition, Age of You, will share and overshare the ideas behind what they call “The Extreme Self.” What does it mean to be an individual today? A crowd? Do these terms still mean what they used to mean?

Age of You with Curator Shumon Basar

Age of You is a timely exhibition about how the self has become more extreme, and what it means to be an individual today.

Interview with Mark Dion The Life of a Dead Tree

Artist Mark Dion brings a massive, fully grown, deceased tree, along with its inhabitants, to MOCA for the museum’s first summer exhibition in the Tower Automotive Building.

The Life of a Dead Tree Artist Mark Dion & Marc Mayer in Conversation

Artist Mark Dion is joined by Marc Mayer for a lively discussion that focuses on the intersections between art and science in relation to nature and how these considerations manifest in his exhibition at MOCA.

Andy Holden at MOCA: November, 2018 interview

In Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape, an animated version of the artist Andy Holden guides us through the laws of physics in cartoons with characters including Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote.

Vasif Kortun: Questions on Institutions

Vasif Kortun, founding Director of Research and Programs, SALT Online, launched MOCA’s speaker series, The Museum Is Not What It Used To Be on October 1, 2017 at the University of Toronto. His talk “Questions on Institutions” explored institutional time frames, non-capitalist museum conditions, zombie institutions and survivalist expansions.