28 November - 15 December 2019
Inspired by ancient and continuing traditions of spiritual contemplation, and curated by artist and academic Dr Rebekah Pryor, holy, honest confluences^ considers the complex personal and communal relationships between humans, and between humans and other living beings and things, in order to respond to the following key questions:
What does it mean to be autonomous (that is, self-determining)?
What does it mean to belong to a community (that is, a group of living beings that comprise, for example, a household, a family, a love relationship, an ecosystem, a neighbourhood, a religious community, a species, etc.)? What does this belonging look/feel like? And, what does it mean to not belong?
Is it even possible to be autonomous and belong? If so, what might this look/sound/feel like?
At a time when complex legal, ethical and social questions concerning communities (for example, religious communities and their relations to power and ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion’ more broadly, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and their multiple histories, and ecological communities challenged by present and imminent climate change impacts) challenge and implicate us all, holy, honest confluences returns us to our own bodies and relations in search for answers.
^Named after a phrase by theologian Catherine Keller whose work interacts with philosophy and feminist and queer theories to describe the potential of our ‘material natures’, at once individual but entirely, divinely, communally entangled, holy, honest confluences leads us to wonder: how can we sustainably and ethically preserve difference and share things in common? With reference to Keller, it will require (at least) more complex practices of relation in which bodies are understood in their ‘holy, honest confluences with the self, the neighbor, the stranger, the other: with these beings who matter, in relation to whose infinite need and newness my finitude is called to its capacity.’ ‘Finitum capax infiniti,’ she writes. ‘Only with them do I matter.’ (Catherine Keller. "The Lost Fragrance: Protestantism and the Nature of What Matters." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65, no. 2 (1997): 355- 70. 368.)