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The Freedom of Fragments

By July 18, 2011August 4th, 2011Uncategorized

In 2008, Toronto artist Midi Onodera created a short video every day for the year and posted them on her website. I remember watching them regularly. They were unpretentious, insightful, often funny, sometimes starkly moving. It was like being fed a delectable box of bonbons—one by one—each to be savored for its simplicity, each one a delicious pause in the middle of the day.

Now all these daily movies have been collected in a DVD, available through Toronto’s Art Metropole. I attended the launch this past weekend and it was a spectacular and inspiring night of short talks and screenings of work spanning Midi’s 30-year career as a moving imagemaker.

“365 A Movie a Day” are short pieces (running between 30 and 60 seconds) originally designed for viewing on mobile devices. They are by nature intimate, meant for an audience of one. This is art that fits into the palm of your hand. Art that embraces the digital without sacrificing the human.

As I cycled home from Midi’s DVD launch, I found myself seeing the city through her eyes—vendors packing up boxes of ripe fruit in Chinatown, a wavy line of people waiting for seats at a popular Charcuterie, a ragtag band of musicians on the steps of a community centre singing “Trenchtown Rock”…and so it went, a string of moments.

I remember a very close friend once shared a quote from Derek Walcott that was a revelation for me: “Pray for a life without plot, a day without narrative.”
What I take from this: there is liberty in experiencing one’s life beyond the epic stories we tell ourselves.

In Midi’s diaristic collection, there is a freedom in fragments, which never fuse into an overarching “MOVIE,” which are never enlarged for dramatic purposes, but which simply stand as they are—beautiful molecules, rubbing against each other in infinite ways.

For more info about the DVD: art metropole