Wormfarm, Extraction, IDS13, and the Peace Hotel

Wormfarm Institute / Extraction

I spent the early part of autumn this year as an artist-in-residence at the Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. In many ways, my experience there was everything it was promised to be – an engagement in the life of a working farm. I harvested a variety of produce, learned to distinguish different types of tomatoes, and even made and canned ketchup from scratch.

Working in the garden, I learned how natural conditions directly impact the quality of various vegetables. I witnessed first hand the effect of frost on certain crops, and also gained some understanding of how a farm operates as a system. My perception of food, both how it’s produced and its role in the economy, changed significantly as a result. So much so, in fact, that I find it difficult to believe how ignorant I was only a few months ago.

While I will no longer be able to maintain as direct a relationship with my food here in Chicago as I did at the Wormfarm, I will definitely be making lifestyle changes to bring me closer to my food source. I know now the amount of time and energy required to grow organically, and how important it is for consumers to support local produce.

At the beginning of October, I spent several days setting up my installation for the Farm/Art DTour. Constructed out of recycled silage bags and fiberglass fence posts, Extraction spanned about 500 feet across a hillside visible from the road. As you travelled along the route, the orientation of the work changed, beginning with one color and ending with another. Reflecting on the project now, I can’t help but notice the parallel between this aspect of my installation and the change in my attitude towards food and farming.

 Interior Design Show

In January, I will be heading back to Toronto to create an installation for the main entrance of the Interior Design Show. As Canada’s largest contemporary design fair, the event will play host to over 300 exhibitors, and feature influential designers and architects from around the world.

Needless to say, this a wonderful context in which to showcase my work, and I’m very grateful and excited about this opportunity.

Swatch Art Peace Hotel

I am very happy to announce that I have been invited to be an artist-in-residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Constructed in 1908, the Peace Hotel has had a long and varied history, at one time being the residence of the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-Sen.

In 2010, Swatch bought the Peace Hotel and converted two stories into live/work spaces for 18 artists from around the world at a time. I will be staying there for a period of six months starting in April 2013.

With its location at the corner of the Bund and Nanjing Road, the Hotel is in one of the busiest sections of the city. This will be my first international artist residency, and I’m looking forward to a productive and inspiring experience.

Video Game

And finally, despite everything, I have finally managed to start working on a video game. It’s going pretty slow at the moment, as there is quite a lot to learn. However, it has been a lot of fun so far, and even now I can see the potential to make some very interesting work in this medium. I’m hoping that by the next newsletter, I will have some basic sketches and working images to share with you.

The Future

That’s pretty much it from me for now. I hope you are having a beautiful autumn, wherever you are, and I wish you a happy thanksgiving in advance.

All the best,
Willy Chyr

Wormfarm Institute / Fermentation Festival

Hi friends,

I’m writing to you from beautiful Reedsburg, WI, where I’m currently an artist-in-residence at the Wormfarm Institute. I’ll be creating a site-specific installation for the Farm/Art DTour project, coming up in mid-October as part of the Fermentation Festival.

The installation, to be titled “Extraction”, is inspired by the culture of the land and the process of fermentation, and will be created using recycled materials from the farm.


In June, I was invited by Lawrence Arts Center to go to Lawrence, KS and create an installation the atrium. I was there for only a week, and I had wonderful time during my visit.

The piece I created was titled “Sunflower” – and you can see more photographs of the installation, as well as a timelapse video of its construction here.

Just last week, summer classes ended at Lawrence Arts Center, and to celebrate, all the kids took part in a giant party taking down the installation. I think this is how I will take down all my installations in the future! Below are some photographs from this event, courtesy of LAC:

Happiness Project: Gallery Dates & Hours

The Happiness Project was a hit during Nuit Blanche. An estimated 2,000 people visited the gallery over the course of the evening, and the exhibit was very well received.

For those of you who couldn’t make it on Saturday night, the exhibit will be open until October 15th. The exact dates and hours are:

Oct 5:   2pm – 7pm
Oct 6:   2pm – 7pm
Oct 7:   2pm – 7pm
Oct 8:   12pm – 5pm
Oct 9:   12pm – 5pm
Oct 12:   2pm – 7pm
Oct 14:   2pm – 7pm
Oct 15:   2pm – 5pm

The address of the gallery is:

Oz Studios
134 Ossington Avenue, Toronto ON
October 1, 2011  7 PM   – October 2, 2011 7 AM

Timelapse Video of Balloon Sculpture in Millennium Park!

My friend Sarra Jahedi has created an awesome time lapse video of the balluminescence team setting up the balloon sculpture in Millennium Park for Science Chicago’s LabFest! back on August 22. Check it out, and remember to rate/favorite it!

Sarra’s a filmmaker who also went to the University of Chicago. She directed a documentary about chess in Hyde Park, and created a web series called Drexel and Drexel. Currently, she’s working on a new web series called Pushing 23.

The music is by Mucca Pazza – they’re an awesome post-apocalyptic circus punk marching band from Chicago. If you like what you hear in the video, check them out. They play a lot of shows in the Chicago area and their live shows are always a load of fun.