AFK | Exhibitions

Out of this World

Danielle Dean
Curated by: Aamna Muzaffar
Black and white film still of a field, on the left a large sign that reads “Danger do not proceed without special authority”. There is a person in the foreground looking at a group of people wearing safety vests behind the sign.


Danielle Dean
UK | 2024 | 16MM> DIGITAL | 32 MIN | English

Filmed in 16mm with an ensemble of non-actors and family, Danielle Dean’s new film is a portrait of Hemel Hempstead, where she was raised, and unfolds as a personal essay on the town’s history as a planned community under the New Towns Act.

Artist Talk

Artist talk with Danielle Dean:

April 14th at 12pm

TIFF - Cinema 4

350 King St W, Toronto ON

M5V 3X5

Mercer Union

1286 Bloor St W TUE–SAT: 11AM–6PM SUN, MON: CLOSED

Mercer Union is located at street level and has an accessible ground-floor washroom, with clear, unobstructed pathways within the gallery. Please note that there are no automatic doors at the entrance or washroom.

Mercer Union is committed to ensuring equal access and participation for people with disabilities. We welcome service animals and support persons onto our premises. If you require additional accommodations, please send an email to

For a map of Mercer Union, click here

Closed CaptionWheelchair
COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

Known for her illustration style, cutout standees, and immersive video installations, British-American artist Danielle Dean produces bold environments to ground and enliven her rhizomatic, research-based projects. Her practice examines historical representations and contemporary conditions of labour, racialized identity, and popular culture. Her projects are often produced collaboratively with community members, whose experiences bring crucial perspective to the work.  


Commissioned for her solo exhibition Out of this World, Dean’s new film is a portrait of Hemel Hempstead, where she was raised in the UK. It unfolds as a personal essay on the town’s history as a planned community under the New Towns Act. Titled Hemel, the work’s central reference is a 1957 sci-fi horror B movie shot in town about the arrival of a non-human entity that infiltrates the minds of residents with a toxic black slime. Playing a composite character based on herself and the movie’s protagonist, Dean’s extraordinary vantage brings together real and imagined worlds, both past and present. 

Filmed in 16mm with an ensemble of non-actors and family, Hemel blurs fiction and documentary to expand a critical reading of the colonial overtones in the original movie, while recasting its visual language to consider the race, class, and labour dynamics of a small English town in the post-Brexit context. As she excavates recent events and personal histories that have transformed Hemel Hempstead, an encroaching dark flood, a growing shadow, a rising plume of smoke build layers of mystery throughout the work. Rows of identical housing, uniformed workers, and emptied lots signal an eerie tone within the mundane, drawing connections between the post-war ideals of the development corporation that established the town, and the mega-corporations shaping life and industry today. 


Danielle Dean’s Out of this World is the seventh project developed through Mercer Union’s Artist First commissioning platform, and Dean’s first institutional solo exhibition in Canada. 

Presenting Support for Danielle Dean: Out of this World is provided by The Vega Foundation. 

Hemel (2024) is co-commissioned by Mercer Union, Toronto; Spike Island, Bristol; and The Vega Foundation. The film is produced by LONO Studio and made possible with the generous support of Patrick Collins, Jill and Peter Kraus, Patrick and Daniela Schmitz-Morkramer, and an Anonymous Donor.

Danielle Dean

Danielle Dean is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the geopolitical and material processes that colonize the mind and body. Dean has developed commissioned projects with the Wellcome Collection, London (2023) and Performa 21, New York (2021). She has held recent exhibitions with ICA San Diego (2023), The Contemporary Austin, Texas (2023), Midnight moment, Times Square Arts, New York (2023), Tate Britain, London (2022), and The Whitney Biennale, New York (2022). She holds an MFA from CalArts, and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Study Program.

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