On Our Way to Tomorrow


Kirsten Leenaars: On Our Way to Tomorrow

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, March 1-13 2011
This performance is a soap opera based on real-life drama, filmed on location at the MCA, using MCA staff and visitors as the core actors and extras. The plotlines and characters in the soap opera are part scripted and part improvised. Each day a new episode was filmed and a scenario for the next episode developed. On Our Way to Tomorrow was part of the interaction series and exhibition ‘Without You I Am Nothing’ curated by Tricia Van Eck.

Watch all  episodes from On Our Way to Tomorrow

Episodes 1-13 On Our Way to Tomorrow


WBEZ 91.5: An MCA Soap Opera


Kirsten Leenaars in conversation with Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the MCA, October 16, 2012. Listen here.

In 2011, as part of the exhibition “Without You I’m Nothing: Art and its Audience,” artist Kirsten Leenaars produced On Our Way to Tomorrow, a soap opera based on real-life drama that was filmed on location using MCA staff and visitors as the core actors and extras. While the characters are fully fictionalized, scripts and improvisations were based on their actual positions at the museum. Leenaars is joined in conversation by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, to discuss excerpts from the soap opera series.

On Our Way to Tomorrow 


In a global city in the middle of America a museum for contemporary art is in search of her identity. Just what is it that makes this museum so different, so appealing? Which people really determine what is happening? Power struggles, affairs, greed, a passion for the arts, the ghost of a collection, a lost child, aspiring artists, ambitious curators, alert assistants, demanding board members, the mysterious custodian and amorous administrators all have their own motivations to shape the museum’s future. What is the story behind the returning mother, the mysterious phone messages, the missing chief curator, the adopted artist and the shooting at the museum, who is going to win the museum’s next curator competition? On Our Way to Tomorrow: the museum that never sleeps…


The majority of the cast members are current employees of the museum. Their roles are scripted for the main part and based on their actual positions at the museum, their characters are however fully fictionalized. In addition visitors will make up part of the cast, acting as extras. The parts played by the visitors are improvised and based on their own suggestions. The set for the soap is the second floor at the MCA, the main Dan Peterman’s Villa Deponie

The OOWTT Team:

Camera: Butcher Walsh, Intro Design: Dean Rank, Sound Editor: Mathew Jinks, Composer: Gordon Allen, Musicians: Dominika Kotarba, Masha Lankovsky, Constance Ricard, Karoline Schulze, Director/Concept: Kirsten Leenaars

Special thanks to: Fonds BKVB, Research II class SAIC, Core class SAIC, Selina Trepp, Julie Rudder, Sarah Olmstead, Karin Zuppiger, Laura Davis, Bad at Sports and Jason Lazarus and all MCA visitors and staff members

Very special thanks to: Tricia van Eck

On Our Way to Tomorrow  – episodes 1-13

On The Set    


The Making Of

Episodes 1-13 – On Our Way to Tomorrow

Cast in alphabetical order: 

Accountant Assistant: Meghan Hillmeyer, Adopted Artist: Kekeli Kodzo Sumah, Assistant to Chief Curator: Alia Walston, Assistant Curator: Michael Green, Associate Curator: Tricia Van Eck, Bathroom Custodian: Katie Kimmel, Chefs: Jason Dunda, Larry Lee, Child: Adam Ross, Collector: Jefferson Godard, Collector/Art Advisor: Marianne Deson, Dance Performance Leader: Surinder Martignetti, Detective: Joe Jeffers, Director of Development: Lisa Key, Director IT: Kamila Farschi, Eastern European Artist: Jeroen Nelemans, Ghost: Edra Soto, Head Security: Harish Subramanian, Independent Curator: Shannon Stratton, Individual Giving Assistant: Monica Wojtyna, Intern Associate Curator: Egan Franks, Intern and Volunteer Coordinator: Ashley Glicken, Lawyer: Jack Guthman, Lonely Mother: Zach O’Dell Hutchinson, Lost Son: Zach O’Dell Hutchinson, Manager of Foundation and Government Relations: Jonathan Kinkley, Manager Visitor Services: Kristen Kaniewski, Member of Woman’s Board: Rena Sternberg, New Assistant Curator: Mathew Jinks, Preparator: Rusty Shackleford, Preparator – Fashion Designer: Araidia Blackburn, President of Woman’s Board: Marcia Fraerman, Real Mother: Lise Baggesen, Receptionist: Jared Heldon, Researcher: Nolan MacGregor