Interview with August Davis, Curator of Laboratory of Dissent 2015

18 August 2019

What is Dissent?

Dissent at its barest minimum is objection. It’s also about difference. So it isn’t just about negation or rejection, it’s also about having an alternative.
It’s very much engaged with questions of orthodoxy and having an alternative doxa. So you are not just a naysayer, you are not just someone who is a contrarian, but you have a different point of view and you have an alternative reading or an alternative perspective that you want to proceed with.

Why is Dissent a good focus? 

I think it’s because we live in a world that is constantly trying to push for artificial consensus. That can actually, rather than being a unifying point, be a divisive point in society. Dissent is is a word that accommodates difference, and respecting the right for there to be different points of view.

If you look at geopolitical crisis right now, having the right to dissent is crucial. It shouldn’t just be a case of claiming to embrace dissenters, it needs to fundamentally and structurally be there to allow people to put forward their dissent.

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