Johanna Householder and Frances Leeming, We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?, double-channel video projection, 2015.

We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?

Johanna Householder, Frances Leeming

A Space Main Gallery

November 13 – December 12, 2015

Curated by: Taryn Sirove

Panel Discussion Saturday Dec 12th, 3-5pm
with Ian Carr-Harris, Dr. Hannah Dyer, moderated by Taryn Sirove

Titled after a misquote commonly attributed to William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, the exhibition, We did everything adults would do. What went wrong? can be understood as a single, collaborative installation by Frances Leeming and Johanna Householder. In a large-scale video projection at the center of the exhibition, the artists consider adult representations of children in conflict in two twentieth century films: Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and Lord of the Flies (1963). Reworking footage from these allegories for expansionist promotions of "civilization," the artists put the two iconic protagonists—Winkie (Shirley Temple) and Piggy (Hugh Edwards)—into dialogue. Householder and Leeming tease out a pattern of similarities across shifting articulations of the original literature, isolating narrative constructions that betray the way we as adults symbolically project our own anxieties and ambitions onto figures of children, in these stories, using Western colonial vocabularies around conflict and war.


Taryn Sirove is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University whose research focuses on issues of identity, citizenship, and arts regulation. Sirove has been involved in curatorial projects for Vtape Distribution and Agnes Etherington Art Center and has written about art for A Space Gallery, the Modern Fuel Booklet Series, and Fuse Magazine.