Bureau of Aesthetics: Under Activation

Accumulative performance actions in the context of the exhibition, Native Art Department International: Bureau of Aesthetics

Mercer Union
1286 Bloor Street West, Toronto



Bureau of Aesthetics: Under Activation

Claudia Edwards
Deanne Hupfield
John Hupfield
Louise Liliefeldt
Abigail Lim
Lutan Lui
Nathan Roy

In the final weeks of Bureau of Aesthetics, artists Native Art Department International (NADI) and FADO Performance Art Centre are facilitating a series of performance (and other) interventions in the space of NADI's exhibition at Mercer Union.

Created by participants working in a variety of disciplines including performance, dance, music and martial arts, these activations demonstrate NADI's commitment to kinship and their desire to build solidarity through forms of collaboration that promote non-competition. Each performance is privately executed and the documentation of each gesture will live on the websites of [FADO Site] and [Mercer Union Site]. This approach speaks to the adaptive methodologies of artists and institutions alike to consider how the pandemic environment impacts the practice and presentation of performance art. Here, the perennially debated theories concerning liveness dissolve for a timely discussion around intimacy, kinship and support; tenets that are fully embodied within the ethos and history of performance work. 

This program is an accompaniment to the exhibition Native Art Department International: Bureau of Aesthetics at Mercer Union, 14 March to 31 October, 2020. 


Native Art Department International is a collaborative long-term project created and administered by Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan. It focuses on communications platforms and art-world systems of support while at the same time functioning as emancipation from essentialism and identity-based artwork. It seeks multiple strategies of infiltration by comprising a diverse range such as curated exhibitions, video screenings, panel talks, collective art making and documenting, and an online presence, however all activities contain an undercurrent of positive progress through cooperation and non-competition.

Mercer Union is a non-profit, artist-centred space in Toronto that was founded by twelve artists in 1979. The organization has a unique track record of presenting innovative exhibitions and programs with Canadian and international artists in formative and established stages of their careers. Mercer Union is dedicated to supporting the production of new and experimental work, assisting artists in realizing pivotal projects. Mercer Union has the will and flexibility to take on ambitious projects and fosters an intimate and supportive space for artists to develop and take risks with their work.

Photo credit: © Louise Liliefedlt. 2020.


[ Special Presentations ]

+ IMAGE GALLERY: Grief Dances by Claudia Edwards
+ IMAGE GALLERY: Under Activation by Louise Liliefeldt
+ VIDEO GALLERY: Ngamo by John & Deanne Hupfield, Nathan Roy
+ VIDEO GALLERY: Ngamo_Niimi by John & Deanne Hupfield, Nathan Roy
+ VIDEO GALLERY: Naginata by Abigail Lim & Lutan Lui