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On Our Way to Tomorrow: an MCA soap opera

Tue, Oct 16, 2012

In 2011, as part of the exhibition Without You I’m Nothing: Art and its Audience, artist Kirsten Leenaars produced On Our Way to Tomorrow, a soap opera based on real-life drama that was filmed on location using MCA staff and visitors as the core actors and extras. While the characters are fully fictionalized, scripts and improvisations were based on their actual positions at the museum. Leenaars is joined in conversation by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, to discuss excerpts from the soap opera series.

Leenaars is a Chicago-based artist born and raised in the Netherlands. Her work explores the nature of narratives. Leenaars recently produced “Under Construction,” a video project with 48 residents from the Edgewater neighborhood and students of Senn high school, which looks at the relationship between happiness, community, and responsibility. Leenaars is currently editing a science-fiction video about the Hyde Park Art Center, developed after a six-week residency at the center. Leenaars was named a 2012 break out artist by Newcity’s art editor Jason Foumberg. She has shown and developed projects at the MCA Chicago; Threewalls; 6018 North; Gallery 400; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Kunst Fabrik, Munchen; and was part of the LOOP Festival in Barcelona, and the Traveling Tehran Biennale. Leenaars is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Practices at The School of the Art Institute Chicago and a member of the Threewalls Artist Advisory Board and the 6018 North board.


On Our Way to Tomorrow

In a global city in the middle of America, a museum for contemporary art is in search of her identity. Just what is it that makes this museum so different, so appealing? Which people really determine what is happening? Power struggles, affairs, greed, a passion for the arts, the ghost of a collection, a lost child, aspiring artists, ambitious curators, alert assistants, demanding board members, the mysterious custodian, and amorous administrators all have their own motivations to shape the museum’s future. What is the story behind the returning mother, the mysterious phone messages, the missing chief curator, the adopted artist and the shooting at the museum? Who is going to win the museum’s next curator competition? On Our Way to Tomorrow: the museum that never sleeps…