819-822-9600, ext. 2260 gallery@ubishops.ca


The Milk, the Goats, the Costume Maker, the Bees, the Honey, the Brass Band

September 7 – October 7, 2023


Bill Burns



Gentiane Bélanger, Noémie Fortin & Camila Vásquez


Under its 2022–23 residency program, the ArtLab welcomes Bill Burns, whose inquiry will continue throughout the year and culminate in an exhibition at the Foreman Art Gallery in September 2023.

The Milk, the Goats, the Costume Maker, the Bees, the Honey, the Brass Band is a project to make and research methods of trade and engagement between people and other people, between people and animals and between people and things. Bill Burns will be keen to meet farmers, musicians, beekeepers, artists, students and farm animals in the community. He wants to know how things work and how people and animals get along here. The hope is to unravel the poetics and joy in these everyday relations. For Bill this is part of a long-duration performance work involving our relations to other species, global trade and food production.

Bill Burns proposes that we are continuously coming together and then falling apart. This, he suggests, holds true for our social and economic life as well as our relations to other species. In addition to meeting people and animals in the community during his residency Bill will make drawings and photographs that predict future performances and events and he will also make a performance that re-enacts past events or some flux in between these. There will be songs, there will be goat milking, there will be honey spinning.


Bill Burns was born into a book selling family in Saskatchewan where he learned about art, books and tractors from monks, poets and farmers. He is founder and artistic director of Big Pond Small Fish Laboratory in Toronto, a platform for art, collaboration and research with people who are often left out of art exhibition and production. 

His work about nature, global trade and civil society has been shown and published widely including solo projects at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Mendes Wood DM, Sao Paulo.  Bill has also been part of major thematic exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art; New York; the Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; Kunsthallen Nikolaj, Copenhagen; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He has published numerous artists’ books and audio works including Bird Radio (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig and KW Berlin and Cologne; 2011; The Flora and Fauna Information Service, ICA. London: 2008; and Hans Ulrich Obrist Hear Us, YYZ BOOKS and Black Dog Publishing. 2016: London. His awards include the Danish International Visiting Artist Award (DIVA) Copenhagen.