“Hey, I started an artist collective with my friend. We want to build a community of Asian.Canadian artists so that we can engage with this identity and have more representation in the Toronto art scene.”

“ Oh cool…I support you”

Why does this word ‘support’ come with pauses and a halfhearted tone?

“What do you study?”

“OCAD has this new stream called Life Studies. It mixes science and art together and it looks at the human body a lot.”

“Interesting…you do you! I support you.”

“I support you.”

This phrase, which is a means of showing encouragement, and a way for the teller to show their belief in the receiver, so often sound empty words.

broken dialogue 1

I used to be confused when people told me they supported me. Why say meaningless things if they don’t understand or care about what I’m doing?

They could inquire further, ask me questions, be proactive…I would have been more than happy to share this experience with them.

Over time, however, I realized that maybe offering support to someone does not necessarily have to be about understanding the full scope of what they do. It can simply be the act of being present when they need you.

Broken Dialogue was born from my processing of these experiences and conversations. In speaking with others, miscommunication can come from either the speaker or the receiver. However, what sentiment passes through in the dialogue is where and how the communication flows. Where can we be present in each other’s stories? The “broken” in the title of this project does not signify a conversation that cannot happen, but a conversation in which things are frequently being reinterpreted. I hope that in this zine, we as collaborating artists and readers can fill in these pages of a broken telephone to discover more of each other’s intentions.