The most recent crit we have had took very different structure to all so far on the course. The idea being that 3 people take part – a speaker, a responder and a listener. The speaker speaks about their work and presents a challenge or problem they would like help resolving uninterrupted for 15 mins. The responder then answers/responds to this for 10 mins and the listener sums up and takes notes. It seems quite a formal way of undergoing crits – but a welcome change from the more ambiguous ones we sometimes have.
Although our group didn’t stick strictly to this format, it was definitely more structured and felt like something was being achieved in each case. In my own case the questions or challenges were based on the issues of:
The meaning in the work – how it can be successfully portrayed, not just “put in” – or even if it needs to be implicit?
With the ambiguity surrounding the potential meanings, for me this is appealing but I wonder if this places too much responsibility on the viewer.
Is it necessary to have agenda or imposed meaning or can it be ambiguous and really about many things on different levels?
Can form and aesthetic be more important than meaning and intention? As sometimes abstract aesthetic doesn’t feel enough..
I really should have included a discussion topic of suggestions of what to do next(!) but maybe that is asking for too much…
Throughout the discussion I really felt like I managed to answer my questions myself – which is definitely a positive outcome. Almost the “defending” of one’s practice makes you understand it better which in turn allows you to resolve certain aspects with greater ease.
However, I still struggle with the idea of having a particular meaning and aesthetic not being “enough”. It feels as people are constantly searching for meaning and the possibility or necessity of providing that seems to weigh heavily. I feel I need to resolve this in whatever way I want to and not be apologetic about it.
Verdict: Have a little more faith or conviction in the process, and what I am investigating.