Project 29

Proposal Response to Prompt “Critical Review”

Response to response
or
The power of criticism

The basic idea is to give journalists a feeling for the impact of their own work. To me, it appears essential to know by feeling how and on what level one’s work reaches the audience. This knowledge should serve as a tool for better determining what media are the best for distributing critical judgement on a particular subject.

The huge Los Angeles-Arts-scene and Engine28.com are excellent points to start from. Engine28 offers the presently available forms of going public with opinion, content, information. Most of the present online-publications do nothing different. Engine28 reflects the range presently available of means for distributing critical judgement on the arts.

The idea of this proposal therefore is, during the given time, to work with the media represented on Engine28 and to test their impact on the recipients. From there on, extended or modified usage of the media can be experimented with.

My proposal is intended to be set to work in a group. Group members contribute various forms of arts criticism and share them with the other group members. Those are asked to analyse their reactions and, eventually, to discuss them in a panel.

How to put it to work:

-See, listen and judge:
Group goes and sees a performance or critically views a piece of visual art. Members of group put down comments in different media like:
written review – audio-comment for podcast/mp.3 – video-review, video-talk,
mini- documentary for streaming etc. If filming of the performance or the art work is available or permitted, it should be made use of.

-Check level of professionalism:
For video, experiment, if possible, with various degrees of professional production. What video/audio-equipment is needed? Is a pocket-size camera enough? Is the VJ-format enough (1-2 person-team; instant-review/report right after the show/in the museum/gallery)? Is there a profit from a larger production format: 2-3 person team, audio-crew, studio-setting, lighting. What format conveys authority best, which one is the most convincing? What setting is most effective: casual (i.e. in lobby of theatre/concert hall/museum) formal (i.e. studio) , experimental (i.e.in street with moving camera)

-Dynamic comment; review in progress:
All group members write review and present them in wiki-style. Others comment, edit, change -> what happens to the piece; to the idea of the author? How does the author feel about it? How do the readers feel about it?

-Attention and Intensity:
The idea is to record the attention the different reviews draw. What stays in memory?. From which media the user/reader/viewer feels most attracted, best informed, most deeply impressed? Is there a sense to instant-reviews, e.g. during intermissions through twitter or social-media-chats, including video? (Let’s do one and see what comes out of it).

-For written reviews as still present in online-publications: what is the best way for distributing text on the “page”: size of columns; spacing, font? Try different solutions/combinations; test them with users; evaluate. (For my esteem, columns in Engine28 are much too wide for comfortable and efficient reading).

-Impact and Emotion:
Each participant in the project should describe, comment and explain his/her reactions; his/her state of emotions regarding the different media.

-Outreach:
Results of commenting on art/performance are presented to externals/audience, i.e. fellows who are not in this project. Same test-pattern as above.

-Discussion:
All of the above should be discussed in a final panel with the group members. Aim is to get as much practical input as possible and to get away from the mainly theoretical discussion that has gone on since. Panelists should be outspokenly subjective and share their feelings with the others. So far, the success of digital publishing has mainly been a matter of catching the user’s emotions. If necessary, the discussion should be moderated.

The aim of the project is to find out the use of which media is most satisfying for the given subject. Arts journalists should not only know what they are doing but also what impact the chosen means has on the recipients.
What is the message transported by the chosen media (the media is the message…): information? education? entertainment? We should thoroughly discuss what we want to achieve.

The results (e.g. two multi-media reviews) can be posted online and distributed through social media. Ideally, the should also prove useful to the arts-institutions and artists. Maybe, they could make use of them for the promotion of their business, like showing videos in loops or offer audio-reviews on demand in their venues or on their websites.