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Made you look

April 9th, 2018

People gathered around Studio F Minus's installaton "Dream of Pastures."

Studio F Minus, Dream of Pastures. Image by Priam Thomas, courtesy of Artspin.

Art collective Studio F Minus gets an A+ when it comes to whimsical, interactive public art installations. And one of their renowned works is coming to this year’s annual AGO Massive, Massive Illusion.

AGO Massive, Toronto’s annual contemporary art party, raises important funds to strengthen our collections and exhibitions, grow our audiences, improve access to transformative experiences, and welcome even more curious minds to the AGO. Tickets are on sale now. This year’s theme, Massive Illusion, will transfix party-goers with more artists than ever, including Maxwell Burnstein and Studio F Minus.

A photo of Mitchell F. Chan and Brad Hindson, co-founders of Studio F Minus.

Mitchell F. Chan and Brad Hindson of Studio F Minus. Image by Priam Thomas, courtesy of Artspin.

Mitchell F. Chan and Brad Hindson are the artistic duo behind Studio F Minus, an art collective that works with engineers and artists to create otherworldly installations. Some of their mesmerizing works include Windscape, where nine elevated windsocks danced in tandem with live music; The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, a machine that releases puffs of steam in the shape of letters that spell out the entire text of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote; and the Flurry series of installations that brought an interactive blizzard to Brookfield Place.

In Dream of Pastures, created in 2008 for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, viewers are invited to pedal a stationary bicycle which then activates a projection machine that animates images of a running horse. The piece is inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s famous photographs. Massive Illusion attendees are in luck – they’ll be able to step on the bike and make the magic happen.

We spoke to Mitchell and Brad from Studio F Minus (SFM) about their career and why illusions are so effective in works of art.

AGO: Can you describe your art practice in five words?
SFM: ART MAKES NOISY PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS.

AGO: What’s a career highlight so far?
SFM: The artwork we’re presenting at Massive was included in a retrospective on the life and work of Eadweard Muybridge at the old Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It was incredible to be curated, along with artists like Ed Ruscha and Sarah Charlesworth, as part of a direct line descending from Muybridge, the original creator of art and technology studies.

Studio F Minus, Dream of Pastures. Image by Priam Thomas, courtesy of Artspin.

AGO: Massive Illusion is all about the interaction between the object and the viewer. What excites you about the relationship your viewers have with your artworks?
SFM: Illusions, or trickery of the eye, can be a kind of metaphor for the world around us. Often what we think we’re seeing isn’t actually what’s there. When you create an artwork that encourages people to take a second look, to see beyond the surface, you’re speaking to an interesting way of looking at the world.

AGO: What kind of relationship do you aim to create with your audience?
SFM: A lot of times we try to withhold the magic until people take that second, deeper look where we’ll reveal something surprising.

AGO: What can Massive Illusion attendees expect from the Studio F Minus team?
SFM: They’ll see an artwork that speaks to the history of how art uses optical trickery – for instance, still photographs of a moving animal – to reveal the world as it really is. But the artwork is also fun and interactive. We hope people enjoy playing with it.

Want to check out Massive Illusion on April 19? Buy your tickets now!

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