Friday, 29 January 2016

Five Rules Towards A Manifesto for Criticism


While you enjoy that contradiction, let me elaborate. To say 'should' is not just to suggest that there is an ideal, platonic reality, in which the object under consideration exists in a pure, perfected form. It is to insist that this reality is appreciable by the critical eye.

This reality is imaginary. It is a film in the mind of the beholder and, as such, not subject to the friction of existing. 'There is no hair in the lens of the mind's camera. 

The role of the critic is to observe, and comment on the observation, not to speculate on a possible, better performance and offer advice. 


Nor is there an 'audience'. The critic may comment on an audience's response, but cannot explain why that response happened. 

For example: 'the audience laughed' is acceptable. 'The audience found it witty' is not. 

The critic writes of their own experience, not on behalf of anyone else. There are those who agree with my assessments, those who do not. While I like the first group, both opinions are valid and there is no reason to assume that anyone is wrong.


There is nothing wrong with an artist commenting on another artist's work. However, this opinion is not the same as a critical opinion: artists and critics have different subjectivities. 

The artist observes a work and thinks: if I had the same budget and the same intention and the same resources... I would create the work that exists in my head. Refer to rule one for the problems inherent within this approach.

It can be fun to hear what artists think of each other, especially if that opinion is preceded by the words 'this is off the record, right?'


It just happens that their medium is critique, which roves across forms and disguises itself as journalism or reportage. 

See rule three for a dialectic tension.

But, like shit, they have to be done. However, the individual who spends time talking about either subject is unwelcome in polite society, and they are both unlikely to provide an answer in matters of purpose or value.

2 comments :

  1. You should have a star rating poll for this article.

    ReplyDelete