The Contemporary Art Gallery worked with Vancouver artist Gareth Moore to co-commission a project comprising seven new films and a series of related posters.
For Children’s Films Moore approached a number of international artists to produce short films for children, each person free to focus on any particular topic, shaping the content and form of their respective piece. Artists invited consist of some from Europe as well as other Vancouver based practitioners familiar to our local audiences. Moore then collated the two to five minute pieces into one longer work, providing it with open and closing credits, each section acting as a discrete but interconnected episode. One point of reference for this project alongside the artist’s own fascination with the formats of popular children’s television is Children’s Tapes (1974) by American artist Terry Fox.
By focusing on children, Moore seeks to engage visitors in a very different way to the conventional gallery goer, purposely taking work out into the city and challenging perceived conventions of whom the audience might be and where art may be apprehended. Distinctions are blurred between exhibition display and more usual educational activities. Furthermore his resort to a collaborative method of production questions the role of the artist as singular author, a more generous and outgoing approach that chimes with the underlying ethos of the gallery.
The exhibition format developed for Children’s Films deliberately moved between children’s cinema, pedagogical film and wandering circus. Akin to the early days of cinema with travelling magic lantern shows, weekly screenings of the 16mm films will took place in different locations throughout the city of Vancouver such as community centres, schools and a tent in open parkland, places including the Roundhouse, Trout Lake, Emery Barnes Park, and the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre amongst others. The place and time was announced via posters in our windows as well those fly-posted throughout Vancouver, in addition to the internet via the project’s own website and that of the gallery.
With an audience comprising exclusively children — adults were only allowed if essential to accompany a child — Moore subverts, with charm and characteristic humour, not just the usual form of communication and presentation of exhibitions in an institution but also the notional audience itself. He debunks the idea that museums and galleries are merely places for adults, bypassing the conventional mediation with which children engage in contemporary art and involving them on their own terms while investing the work with a clear and significant social dynamic.
Moore’s work has long conflated performance, documentation, installation and sculpture, as well as everyday activities normally considered peripheral to contemporary visual art, projects often involving communities external to the typical sphere of interest. As such this newly commissioned body of work is consistent with his broader practice: notional spaces and groups outside of the usual art audience become the key ingredient and participant.
Children’s Films highlights Moore’s enduring interests in ideas around museology, display, social engagement and economic exchange. By using materials collected from his previous travels to create new objects that he will take with him on future journeys — or in this case the network of shared ideas within his broader artistic community and friendships — Moore’s inventions create a continuously evolving story of his pilgrimage where past narratives can be manipulated and transformed into new tales of exploration and ingenuity.
Schedule of film screenings:
Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14, 10am–6pm
Emery Barnes Park
Saturday, September 29, 11am–4pm
Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre
Thursday, October 4, 3.30pm
Riley Park Community Centre
Wednesday, October 24, 9am–12.45pm
Strathcona Community Centre
Monday, November 5, 9.30am–12.30pm
Trout Lake Community Centre
Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, 11am–4pm
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Exhibition Hall
For more information please reference: www.childrensfilms.ca.
This expanded version of Children’s Films is presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. The project is commissioned with Bielefelder Kunstverein, Germany; IPS, Birmingham, UK and the Whitstable Biennale, UK. Venues in collaboration with Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.
The exhibition was generously supported by The Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Lisa Schmidt is a curator at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. She worked previously at K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf and with Ute Eskildsen at Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Her talk focused on her most recent exhibition, Das Kind, die Stadt und die Kunst (The Child, the City, and the Art), on view at the Schmela Haus of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen until 15 September, 2013 which examines the social and aesthetic implications of playgrounds by the Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck, with contemporary responses by artists Yto Barrada, Nils Norman and Gareth Moore.MORE
Okay, well, if you have a friend who is 12 and under, they can accompany you, but otherwise, it’s kids only as the CAG hosts a month of Children’s Film screenings! Continuing his tradition of challenging traditional methods of display, artist Gareth Moore has worked with an impressive set of international artists (including Ulla Von Brandenburg, Keren Cytter, Geoffrey Farmer, Julia Feyrer, Harrell Fletcher, Mike Marshall and Sylvain Sailly) to produce a series of 2-3 minute short films for children.
Kids know that art museums and galleries are mostly for adults. No touching, no loud talking, no rough-housing. In this series, the exhibition has been taken out of the gallery so that there is no confusion that this is not a program for adults. There’s no shushing (unless the other kids want you to be quiet) and if you should want to laugh or sing-along, then that’s what you do.
I’ve been lucky enough to host 2 sessions so far, and I’ve really enjoyed watching the different groups interact with the program. Today’s modern Vancouver kid is not entirely unfamiliar with a 16mm projector, but it’s definitely not something that most of them see regularly. At the Moberly Arts and Culture Centre afternoon showing, the long school day and the novelty of the projector inspired a few of the watchers to project their own shadow puppets over the silhouettes of The Little Hunchback and The Man and the Wild Boar. At Emery Barnes, we spent 2 days outdoors in a tent, inviting kids to check out the film during some of the hotter, last days of summer. Many of the park-goers were under 5, and while we had many in-and-out visitors, 30 minutes of contemporary film was a little much for the toddler crowd.
Some of my highlights so far have been singing along with Tina Fenomena, by Keren Cytter (♫meow, meow-meow-meow♫) and watching the reactions to (my personal favourite) The Drawer, by Geoffrey Farmer, as he draws on top of a picture of David. While the initial flash of the famous genitals can cause a bit of a stir, it’s more the fact that the Drawer draws inside an art book which causes confusion and delight in the crowd.
My next date with the Children’s Films is our screening at the Strathcona Community Centre from 9AM-12:45PM. Tell your friends under 12 to make a date. If they can’t make it on a school day, I’ll also be hosting 2 weekend screenings at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre from 11-4PM on Saturday, November 3rd and Sunday, November 4th. See you then!
Kay Slater (@kdot) is a volunteer at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Come visit her on shift every Sunday from Noon-3PM.MORE