Big Pond Small Fish’s mandate is twofold. Firstly, to produce conceptually rigorous works as collaboration between artists and youth and secondly to investigate the boundaries between advanced industrialism and nature.

We began as a collective in 2007 and received our not for profit letters patent in May 2012. We have produced projects with Alpha Alternative School and Lord Lansdowne School in Toronto and a number of schools and public institutions in Australia.  Our most ambitious projects have been to develop and produce multi-arts performances with children and youth groups.

Our performance, video and audio works have been shown widely including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London (2008); the Quebec City Biennial (2010); Nuit Blanche Toronto (2011); and Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Choir Vinyl LP - The Toronto Concert (2012); the Junction Arts Festival Launceston, Australia (2013); and the Biennial of the Moving Image, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014).

Big Pond Small Fish works in Toronto but we consider our scope to be international.

We believe access to arts and an understanding of arts and culture to be an essential part of life in civil society. Our mandate is to bring art to young audiences in hopes that art will continue to be understood, practiced and loved.

The Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Choir for Launceston, Tasmania is a concert of the sounds of dogs and boats and airplanes vocalized by a 100 voice children’s choir. The performance is organized into three acts that progress through 24 hours.  It begins at dawn, moves to night, and ends with a new day. Two pageant elements represent the mood established by the choral passages. The performance begins with the great chorus, which introduces the main players, namely dogs, boats and airplanes, and ends with a return to the light of day represented by safe landing and contemplation. The entire repertoire comes from the choristers’ stories about their personal experiences, fears and playful fantasies about dogs, boats and airplanes. Their voices appear in the titles of the acts and many of the scenes, as well as seven spoken-word passages that directly quote the children.

Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Choir at the Junction Arts Festival in Launceston Australia in summer 2013.  Krys Verrall Associate Producer

My dog is a Maltese Sitsu Chow. I’ve got a double bed, not a bunk bed but a double bed. He’ll just jump up and start to go berserk. He’ll run all over me on the bed; he’ll lick my face. He’ll try to bite my hand. And after that he’ll go into my mum’s room and just sit on the bed and go “grrrrrrrr”. And then he chases me again. Sometimes he’ll come and wake me up. Sometimes I’m playing with my Xbox and he’ll jump up and try and take the controller off of me.
Remember the story about my cousin’s pug?
It’s a pug that’s stealing my cousin’s underpants and shoes from the wash. He steals them from the washing basket that’s in the laundry. After he’s snatches the undies they get chewed up. After he steals them he takes them into the garden behind a big tree and chews them to shreds.
A long time ago my dad, my uncle and me went fishing on the ocean in a motorboat. It was really fun, and rocking the boat, which wasn’t fun. There were little waves and a sea gull. I have no idea what fish we caught. And, that’s the end.