Blog: MCA DNA Index

OTV: Returning to the MCA with The Art of TV and Intention

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An animated GIF shows a brief segment of OTV Tonight 2020

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Days away from the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic being officially declared in the United States, we wrapped production of your favorite intersectional Late Show, #OTVTonight: The Art of TV. This marks our second OTVTonight in quarantine, and fifth overall. Every April since 2017 we have partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to produce this show that gives you a first look at our upcoming season of releases. Last year was no different . . . save for the fact that it was April of 2020. We pivoted our entire show concept in a couple of weeks, the majority of the show was live streamed from my living room and cameras A and B were iPhones. No biggie. The show must go on.

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Although we still can’t gather and watch live in the Edlis Neeson Theater, this year #OTVTonight returns to the MCA. In fact, we used the lack of a live audience as an opportunity to film in multiple corners of the museum that were once filled with the hustle and bustle of people. Here’s an opportunity for play: shot by shot as you watch, guess which part of the building we’re in. One of the gimmes is The Long Dream exhibition. I’m not spoiling the game, the name is quite clear in the frame.

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Production of the 2021 OTV Tonight at the MCA
Production of the 2021 OTV Tonight at the MCA
Production of the 2021 OTV Tonight at the MCA

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OTV has a piece titled Queerantine TV currently on display in The Long Dream. Queerantine TV is a collective work, highlighting a broad range of artistic programs that have premiered on OTV over the years, showcasing our diverse community of artists—diverse not only in cultural identity, but also political and artistic perspective. Elijah and Aymar reflect on almost two dozen video art works, pilots, and series in the OTV library, discussing how the works impacted them personally, offering behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and reflecting on their formal and narrative strategies. The Long Dream is also the site of a lot of discussion around institutional accountability, restorative justice, and collective healing—all important topics that serve as the bedrock of OTV’s mission. Our partnership with the MCA is an active and intentional relationship. If you’re interested in learning more about the ways we are building pathways towards equitable solutions, read the partnership engagement letter to the MCA and cowritten by our founders, Elijah McKinnon and Dr. Aymar Jèan Christian. This letter was received warmly by partners at the MCA and as part of an ongoing dialogue in response to calls for accountability from OTV and other artists, staff, and stakeholders, the MCA's web site now includes a Call to Action page sharing more about where they are on their journey.

This letter was received warmly by partners at the MCA and as part of an ongoing dialogue in response to calls for accountability from OTV and other artists, staff, and stakeholder, the MCA's web site now includes a Call to Action page sharing more about where they are on their journey.

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Still from Queerantine TV

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The entire program this year is positioned to evoke discussion around accountability and action. We’re bringing you a season preview like every year, but equally important are the artists and visionaries that are opening our eyes to a brave, new world.

Hosted by our Founders, Elijah McKinnon and Dr. Aymar Jèan Christian, the evening includes artist and educator Jenna Anast sharing a first look at five programs coming to OTV: Border’d, Born and Raised, Low Strung, HIVE, and Arabica; interviews with artists Zackary Drucker (OTV’s Southern for Pussy, HBO’s The Lady and the Dale) and Fatimah Asghar (OTV’s Brown Girls, One World’s If They Come For Us); and authentically curated performances by E’mon Lauren, Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate and teaching artist, and Chicago’s very own singer-songwriter on the rise, KAINA, featuring Sen Morimoto.

Boarding begins April 17 at 8 pm CST. Prepare to be transported to another frequency filled with intention. Can’t wait? Tune in on April 13 for a Virtual Studio Visit hosted on the MCA’s Instagram at 1 pm CST.

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Official trailer for the 2021 iteration of OTV Tonight.

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—Chris Walker, OTV Head of Marketing and Exhibition

<em>The Long Dream</em> Artist Residencies: Derek McPhatter