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Consensus kills questions. A colleague of mine recently brought something like this up, reflecting on a public conversation where a participant had noted the Canadian tendency to need to find agreement when really, we need not concur. Sitting with an unresolved tension can be good because it asks that strategies be developed for living with difference and it requires a person to admit that while logics can be internally coherent, they are not totalizing. As I sit with a long list of works for my upcoming exhibition at the AGW, and as I begin to think about how to articulate what holds these works together, I am encountering the aliveness of my own questions to the gallery’s collection. It’s exciting, but it also feels like being totally sure of what the artworks do together would be great. I’m not sure that this will be resolved in the end, and instead, how do I let the dissensusĀ live through exhibition? How do I keep the questions alive for myself and an imagined audience? Borrowing a sentiment from Danh Vo, exhibition “enacts art as a process of learning for artist and viewer [I would suggest the curator also], in which failures are also ways of learning” (Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education, 217). So perhaps I keep the question alive by not knowing the answer, or somehow allowing conflicting answers equal space to exist within the hypothesis that frames the collection of works. Let me not reach consensus!

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  1. From Amy Fung’s POST pacific POST: “My exhibition making has always come from questions raised from writing, questions I could not answer and did not want to answer. In this sense, to make an exhibition is to gather a think tank, and to bridge ongoing conversations into a shared time and space.”

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