Art School: Presentations and critiques

This year the school of fine art is changing the way crits are going to be presented. This is perhaps more pertinent to moving image work as generally the proposed changes already happen in other mediums such as painting or sculpture.
The work to be critiqued now has to be installed in an environment as close to its intended space as possible. (gallery space, theatre etc). The reasoning behind this change actually makes sense – Students get to experience the technical challenges they might face during an actual install, how the work operates in space, additionally consideration of how and where their work should sit along side that of there peers.
Meanwhile taking part in crits should become more of a fluid, dynamic experience.

The problem of media based crits has always been in the presentation. Students bring their work on USB stick where it is projected onto a wall. The audience sit, corporate style, on rows of uncomfortable chairs watching a succession of work for hours on end. One cannot emphasize enough how tedious this becomes as proved in the presentations that took place this week.

Firstly I must say that the quality and range of work is generally very high – that is not where the problem lies – but the whole process has been the most tedious art related experience I have ever been involved in, turning what should be a vibrant, dynamic medium into an absolute snorefest.
Sat for hours at a time on uncomfortable chairs watching a continuous stream of projected quick time files does not, in my opinion, deliver an engaging experience. Contrary it actively dis-engages the viewer until the medium itself becomes the most mind nummingly boring thing they have ever witnessed.

We are supposed to be emerging artists working with a medium that is animated and can be viewed in a number of interesting ways. If I wanted to sit in a sterile, corporate environment with faceless droning presentations I guess I would have chosen a different career path. I have literally had more interesting experiences watching paint dry.

Let’s hope that this new format will not only give practical experience to those showing work, but also provide a more relevant way of experiencing our art.

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