an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 20-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Chloë Ellingson. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2021.

MEET with artist Mitchell F. Chan curated by opera visionary Alexander Neef.

Chan title page
1
HOW DO WE COME UP WITH STUFF?
2
On a good year, I’ll have about three ideas.
3
Each of them comes into my brain for just 10 seconds of bliss. So I spend about 30 seconds out of every year feeling like a smart person and the rest being just a complete idiot.
4
Every one of these ideas means that I’m going to be busy for six months or a year, and I’ll spend all day in meetings with engineers and lawyers, trying not to get sued.
5
Which is ironic because I quit architecture to not have to deal with the actual construction of walls and all the bureaucracy that it entails.
6
I’M ALWAYS, QUITE LITERALLY, PURSUING INTANGIBLE THINGS.
7
8
FOR ART TO STAY PRECIOUS, I REALLY BELIEVE IT HAS TO BE USELESS.
9
I really believe that.
10
It’s like a scientific experiment: you can only observe the world by stepping outside and being apart from it. And for art to be a profound observation of life, you have to remove any functionality from it. When something is useless, it sort of steps outside of everyday life.
11
TO ME, GOOD DESIGN SOLVES A PROBLEM, AND GOOD ART PRESENTS A PROBLEM.
12
Art can’t solve any of my problems for me. It has to only make me recognize a facet of life that is problematic.
13
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I do a lot of code-based projects in the winter. I use technology as a tool but I’m not interested in sculpting motors and electronics.
15
I’M MORE INTERESTED IN SCULPTING LIGHT AND AIR.
16
I created a sculpture that spells out the entire text of Don Quixote, letter by letter, in the form of water vapour clouds emitted into the air. It’s quite difficult to see and completely onerous to absorb.
17
I HOPE THAT IT CREATES A VERY PLEASANT TYPE OF PROBLEM.
18
With the Don Quixote sculpture, you have to figure out: how do I read this? I know there’s something there...
19
I WANT TO CREATE A SENSE OF WONDER OF HOW BIG AND UNGRASPABLE THE WORLD AROUND US IS.