Together We Average as Zero

Together We Average as Zero was an exhibition organized by students in the Museum and Curatorial Studies Practicum. The exhibition was meant to be a precursor to From Remote Stars: Buckminster Fuller, London, and Speculative Futures, the exhibition Sarah E.K. Smith and I are curating for Museum London. However, the pandemic started and From Remote Stars was postponed, which made Together We Average as Zero a stand alone entity. It was so much fun to work with students on this exhibition. Students created banners with their questions for the future; the banners were hung in the gallery in an echo of Fuller’s Dymaxion map. The exhibition also included an auto-critique, and all waste used in the exhibition was included in the display, as was a letter to future students about creating less environmentally destructive exhibitions. Each student created their own display, and together we built a geodesic dome. The pandemic shut Western down on March 16, the day the exhibition was meant to be deinstalled. Instead it stayed installed for months in the dark, a strangely prescient commentary on a moment that was unimaginable when we began planning.

This exhibition responds to a visit that the futurist R. Buckminster Fuller made to London, Ontario, in 1968. Fuller brought to London his concerns for the future, including his belief that humans were using up the earth’s resources too quickly. We are all, he suggested, on “little spaceship earth,” hurtling through the universe, and must work together to survive. Now, in a moment of climate crisis we ask what future(s) are we planning for today? And how can we work together to move beyond the current impasse? As Fuller said: “Most importantly we have learned that from here on it is success for all or none, for it is experimentally proven by physics that ‘unity is plural and at minimum two.’ You and I are inherently different and complimentary. Together we average as zero – that is, as eternity.”

About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is Associate Professor of contemporary art and Director of museum and curatorial studies at Western University, Canada.

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