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playtime | inside my head

Midi Onodera

September 4 – October 10, 2020
*playtime has been extended online until October 18th, 2020

Curated by Lesley Loksi Chan


A conversation with artist and filmmaker Midi Onodera, and guest curator, Lesley Loksi Chan, as they discuss Midi’s practice and the work in the exhibition TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS playtime | inside my head. This is a recording from a Zoom webinar that happened on September 12 2020.

Midi Onodera – TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS playtime | inside my head

TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS | playtime | inside my head encompasses two of Midi Onodera’s newest ongoing projects. The exhibit focuses on the artist’s contemplation of time during the pandemic lockdown and social upheaval, a period in which she finds herself simultaneously looking outward and inward, working with others and working alone. 

playtime refers to Onodera’s collaborative online project EXC-19, an undertaking based on the Surrealist parlour game known as “The Exquisite Corpse”. Over 100 artists, cultural workers and students have participated in this project, generating over 60 videos on Inside my head is Onodera’s series of sculptural video containers inspired by daguerreotypes and the obsession with mobile phones. Made of plaster, pigment and wax, these “miniature video works encased in cloud-filled sky vessels” speak to the complicated relationship between childhood memories, youthful impressions and implicit biases. 

Together, the works in this exhibit call attention to the shifting parameters for community-building and self-reflection in our contemporary moment. In Onodera’s words, “TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS is a reflection of our dual nature: the outward public flaunting of who we project to the world and the concealed part of who we are, a complex, contradictory self.”


Midi Onodera is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist who has been making films and videos for 35+ years. In 2018, Midi received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. Her work is laced with markers of her experiences as a feminist, lesbian, Japanese-Canadian woman. She has produced over 25 independent shorts, ranging from 16mm film to digital video to toy camera formats. Her film The Displaced View (1988) was nominated for Best Documentary at the Gemini Awards. Skin Deep (1995), her theatrical feature, screened internationally at festivals including the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Since 2006 she has made over 500 Vidoodles (defined as bite-sized 30 second to 2 minute video doodles). Each year since 2009 she presents an annual video project addressing themes of language, media, politics and everyday life. Her online videos can be viewed at: or 

Lesley Loksi Chan holds a BA in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from McMaster University and a BFA and MFA in Film Production from York University. She has screened her work in national and international film festivals including Vancouver International Film Festival, Reel Asian International Film Festival, Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, Die Beginen in Rostock, Germany, Open Cinema in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Monterey Bay Film Festival and has participated in exhibitions at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Centre, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Centre[3] for Artistic and Social Practice, Rotunda Gallery and Harbourfront Centre. She has received awards from the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, United Nations Summit on the Information Society, Canadian New Media Awards and Images Festival.