Kika Thorne

Work / 1999 / 10'

Mercer Union
Toronto, Canada



10 scenes, a minute each, this splitscreen video is a day in the life. It's about the work we do to make the work we love. Natural lighting, real people, 2 cameras, long static takes. Each double-shot is set according to architectural constraints. Non actors invent their lines. There is no character definition. just a personal resonse to the predefined subject matter, location, moment. The real script is body language. Casting according to intimacy. After Shary Boyle agreed to play the focal role, (non) actors were chosen from her circle of familiars. Friends and co-workers are played by close friends, their language and ease developed. The strangers; boss and lover, are played by real strangers, - as such all degrees of intimacy are visible. As most takes were about 30 minutes long, I looked for the best minute from each scene. There are 10 cuts in the video (excepting the credits). Peaches composed beats in her bedroom while watching our video selections. Shary, Peaches and I became friends. The day the tape was finished we went camping.


Mercer Union


Organization Profile

Mandate / Vision
Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art is an artist-run centre dedicated to the existence of contemporary art. We provide a forum for the production and exhibition of Canadian and international conceptually and aesthetically engaging art and related cultural practices. We pursue our primary concerns through critical activities that include exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances, publications, events and special projects.

Brief History
Established in 1979, Mercer Union is a not-for-profit Canadian charitable organization began as an artist-run centre through the collective efforts of artists who believed in alternative art production and presentation. Throughout our twenty-six year history, we have maintained ambitious programming, exhibiting national and international artists and presenting cultural professionals both in formative and established stages of their careers.

Artistic Policy and Role
We see ourselves in an on-going and focused conversation with the artists, writers, curators, and designers with whom we work. We aim to expand the audience of contemporary art and further engage those already invested. Mercer Union plays an important role in contemporary art production, presentation and reception. In facilitating and delivering our mandate, we provide a professional physical place for the exhibition of artwork, while also having policies to accommodate non-exhibition-based activities such as performative works and projects that respond to alternative sites or activities.

We work with a diverse group of artists, ranging in genre, experience, background and locality, and strive to provide an informative framework to this entire group, to balance diversity with a cohesion that benefits the artists and the community.

We see our programming as distinctive from other artist-run centres through a focus on producing new works. One of our main objectives is to offer artists the opportunity to create new works - from conception to realization.

In addition to paying artist fees above CAR/FAC standards, fifteen percent of our programming expenses are allocated to artists to facilitate the production and creation of exhibitions. We also provide artists with professional documentation, access to critical writing about their work in our exhibition brochures, and targeted promotion.

Entrance to Mercer Union and all event-based activities are offered free of charge to the public.

Buildings / Facilities
Our current facilities include two main exhibition spaces: the Front Gallery, which accommodates large-scale work and group shows (1200 sq. ft.); and the Back Gallery, a light-tight project room well suited to film, video and more intimate installations (300 sq. ft.). All gallery walls are dry-walled to a height of 10 ft., and the ceiling height varies between 13-15 ft. We have ground-level street access and are wheelchair accessible.


Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art
37 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 3T3
T. +1 416 536 1519
Contact: Natalie De Vito, Co-Director