Emerging on the Toronto independent filmmaking scene in the early '80s under the aegis of the Funnel film co-op, Midi Onodera — who was recently announced as a recipient of this year's Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts — has shown herself to be equally conversant with experimental, documentary, and narrative, never allowing any one form to fully define her. A rumination on cultural displacement, memory, and the meaning of images, Onodera's feature-length I have no memory of my direction follows a third-generation Sansei woman who travels to Japan equipped with a video camera and a multi-lens still camera, documenting the exotic quotidian of a place inherited but not quite familiar. (An acknowledged touchstone here is Chris Marker's masterpiece Sans Soleil.) Weaving in contemporaneous events like the Aum Shinrikyo cult's subway attack and anti-Iraq War protests, Onodera's portrait of Japan showcases the artist's ability to look at a subject from her own unique perspective and share what she has found.
I have no memory of my direction is preceded by a brief selection of videos that Onodera made for her annual "challenge project," in which she chooses a theme that she then explores through daily or monthly videos.
Midi Onodera is a moving-image artist. She has produced over 25 independent shorts, a theatrical feature film titled Skin Deep, and over 500 online videos. Since 2006 she has produced an annual online video project, and in 2018 she received the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts.