Centre for Incidental Activisms # 3

Please join me at the CIA this winter- Ill be creating new work inside the show and will be hosting some performances and gatherings- stay tuned here for more info!

Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 3, 6 – 9 pm


From 4 January – 6 March, AGYU hosts the third iteration of the Centre for Incidental Activisms (CIA) and things certainly don’t look the same as they did five years ago when we set out on this adventure. CIA#3 opens with a free public reception on Wednesday 3 February, from 6 – 9 pm, the halfway point of this experimental project.

In 2011, CIA #1, we set out to performatively examine a question at stake in contemporary artistic and curatorial practice. Instead of creating an exhibition about politically engaged and activist practices, we created a centre through which to enact politics and embrace activism. In 2014, CIA#2, we looked to collaboration across disciplines and practices – from choreography to publishing to spoken word to dance to architecture and object play – to understand how new techniques might improvise a different scenario inside the gallery space and loosen the distinctions in-between the genres of our programming. This time we ask: How do we move from grieving into dreaming into action?

For this iteration, Radiodress, Greg Staats, and Syrus Marcus Ware bring a grassroots approach to sharing information and community healing. CIA #3 focuses on the importance of ritual and shared cultural traditions to interrogate and build new knowledge structures while simultaneously recuperating and reinventing these techniques and traditions. The artists mine family archives and cultural histories bringing forward sacred symbols and mnemonic devices to construct portraits and uncover new narratives.

The CIA is a process so one won’t find a static exhibition per se but a composition occurring in the continuous present. A full list of events and programmes can be found at www.theAGYUisOutThere.org/

A beginning: Radiodress leads ritual baths, Mikvot, as a contemporary tradition she is co-creating. She offers MKV in the adjacent garden as a comforting and transformative marker of life shifts, specifically for queer and trans-identified people. Ritual sounds are returned to the gallery through a meandering system of audio vibrations as healing enters the gallery space as a form of renewal and generosity. Meanwhile … Greg Staats unpacks Onkwehonwe civilization with research that includes the restraint/constraint of cultural behaviour from the personal to the land-based remnants of memory and phenomena. He’s working with aerial views of land gleaned from the Ontario Archives at YorkU, making connections with the Aboriginal Student Association, the Department of Photography, and inviting members of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory into the CIA #3. Over here… Syrus Marcus Ware brings the classroom into the gallery by drawing on a YorkU course he’s teaching around environmental justice, prisoners’ justice and abolition-based activism. Syrus moves his Love Letters to Activists project/performance in new directions, adding to his growing archive of drawings.

The CIA #3 is drafted by Emelie Chhangur, Suzanne Carte, and Michael Maranda, with vibrational cuts by Johnson Ngo…

Get on the Performance Bus!

Farrah Miranda is calling on you to join a social movement tour on The Performance Bus. Follow her journey through the social landscape of activism—the work and the hardships and the persistence that all this entails—and engage in an alternative celebration of what it means to dissent. The free Performance Bus departs OCADU (100 McCaul St.) at 6 pm sharp en route to the opening reception of the CIA #3 on Wednesday 3 February, and returns downtown at 9 pm.

AGYU promotes LGBTQ+ positive spaces and experiences, is barrier-free, and all events out there are free and open to everyone.

TTC: Take the subway to either Downsview or Sheppard station. Take the 196 York University Express bus direct to YorkU Keele Campus.
Driving: Enter YorkU Keele Campus via The Pond Road. Park in the Student Services parking garage.
WheelTrans: the closest WheelTrans stop to AGYU on YorkU campus is VARI HALL (download accessibility map here)


The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) is a public, university-affiliated, non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and by its membership.

The AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street Toronto. Gallery hours are: Monday to Friday, 10 am–4 pm; Wednesday, 10am–8 pm; Sunday from noon–5 pm; and closed Saturday.

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