Sunday, 19 September 2010


I've just watched a video posted by a b-uncut (link) friend.  I wouldn't have made it through all 3 mins:33 secs. had I not been virtually invited by the maker. 

The virtual connection was probably the most telling part of my watching experience for how else would the artist have found me as a viewer, and without the virtual how might I have seen this video at all? 

There is in fact nothing I wanted to say about the work which left me cold, failed to absorb me and told me nothing of the past, present or future that I didn't already know.  The work isn't awful, it has merits, it is a good try and I like that. 
To be gratuitously acerbic and while I have my kicking boots on: it is entirely predictable in the shaky emotive camera work, the imagery is neither revealing nor is there a surprise; the gimmickry is amateurish and the soundtrack tacked on top could equally well be wired into the ears whilst wandering around the Taj Mahal or riding on a bus.  Perhaps I'm revealing too much in mentioning that the piece is entitled 'Trip'.  Notwithstanding all, I 'liked' it. 
I wonder though whether I'm giving the artist, the work, or me the viewer, a fair crack by seeing it in this fashion? 
I'm tempted to answer my own question with a 'yes' because it is a video short made for YouTube, so on YouTube or similar is how to see it. 
Lack of criticism is the problem. 
I could have pasted my thoughts into the comment box where you find smiley emoticons and not-all else, but, why bother going to all the trouble just to slate a piece of work in the way I have?  Have any of us got the time to respond? 
Everything has its own terms, and there is the argument to consider that the work with an online presence stands or falls by those parameters alone.  A vid on YouTube dies or thrives on views.  Merit is defined and criticism encapsulated by view figures.  Why work harder, why buck that system? 
Is this then the quality of criticism we must rely on for poems, prose-pieces, paintings, music and for all work put up on the web? 

" Everyone says, I love it, great job, all those wonderful things a person wants to hear.  That's bullshit.  It can't all be good (so I must trust the judgement of those who expect more. " 
. . .  complains Mr Botched Resolution (link), and he's right. 
'Good work', a 'like', a smiley emoticon is all you get criticism-wise online, and it is easy to like a poem, image, prose piece or clip.  The painting online does not impinge on your space, the poem doesn't collect dust or boring beetles or get damp, music and videos get dropped into the software and are only missed or even remembered in random selection or when the system fails. 
For a painter, viewing paintings online is the hardest.  I suspect I like a lot on the screen that would grieve me if I were to see the work live.  By the same token I must miss as much and when you can't trust your judgement in this way, almost any criticism seems out of place. 
You have to sit through the movie, to read the whole book, to pay attention to that song . . .  to plough to the poem's end before the investment in time gives one the ability, gives the liberty to criticize. 
Online, if I don't like one thing - gone it is in a click and here comes the next.  Why stop to examine? 
The critical flaw in online criticism is that there is no middle ground, no hesitance, no lingering or gathering appreciation.  If there's the slightest uncertainty we click past and say nothing.  We get nothing back either, or nothing between 'its great' and a mad blast of obscenities. 
Occasionally I get advertising - now that's an odd one. 
'How exciting!' I think.  'I have a response' but not a comment on my work, instead: an invitation to view someone else's or to buy a something else completely. 


  1. Comment by Louise Gains on AR

    Gosh - funny how some pieces of art get tangled up in discussion - I have been watching Min HaHi's work this year and have found the work intriguing.
    This video has a very strong story -- maybe one has to have experienced a panic attack to be able to see it - but it is all there: the swaying about not being able to settle, the blank walls echo the lack of co-ordinated thoughts, the half finished projects - reflect the anxiety of commitment....the plastic wrap the veiled attempt to protect the unprotectable ... the loud insistent music at odds with the old fashioned interior--- then that staring out into the street--- and what a sunny day - what a beautiful day it is out there - people busily getting on with their lives whilst our poor inhabitant of the flat can't move - is stuck - stuck in their world.
    A real story and so compactly told.
    I think this work is stunningly poetic and deserve to be criticized as a piece of art in its own right - not as an example of the way the world is treating us and growing out of our control.

    Art should be allowed to be just that a piece of art - let it stand on its own merits not be lumped in with everything else.


    Comment by Reuben Daniels

    Laugh I nearly fell off my chair. Prolixty is no substitute for critical analysis. First we are told that 'there is nothing I wanted to say about the work' and then we are treated to an exhibition of literary masturbation posing as criticism. Oh come on!

    Critismal Flaw suffers from conceptual confusion and a lack of clarity. Much of the piece is centered on the role of the internet and is relationship to art. 'Merit is defined' by the number of viewers is offered as the most stinging criticism of art on the net. True such ideas confuse quality with quantity, or more pertinently art with popularity. That number of people that view a painting or object does not define its merit or its quality as a work of art (except to the extent that if you lower the bar of art to include popular culture you begin to enter the popularity is art equation). Rather than note the click rate as some sort of indices of merit or art it would have been better to have tried to analyse how and why popularity masquerades as art. Such an analysis requires an understanding of what separates art from non art. In any such analysis the ideological crust of popularity, commerciality and banality that has to be broken and discarded in order to reach the kernel of the thing of art itself.

    For the sake of clarity popularity is no indices to the determination of art neither does popularity deny the quality of art. Art is not defined by or by the lack of popularity. Something Criticismal forget to mention!

    Criticismal berates the internet for its lack of critical comment - "Lack of criticism is the problem." The banalities of comments such as its great or 'good work' Criticismal criticises for not being critical analysis. I doubt very much whether they are intended to be anylytical but are the platiitudes of bourgeois good manners - people being polite. Had Criticismal really been an attempt at critical analysis it might have started with this observation and moved on to note how often this sort of bourgeois politeness is a desparate attempt to avoid critical analysis of ones own works - the last thing the daubers and pseudo artists of the world want is intelligent criticism as it undermines the efforts of the pseudo artist to pose as an artist. Where art is absent politness occupies the space in a vain attempt to present itself as art. Its a case of "Look the king has no clothers on." What is worse than the artistic pretensions of the bourgious mediocrity who present themselves as artists and their lamentable works as art is the maturbatory flagellation of a piece of writing posing as criticism when it holds no insights into the current state of art itself and is little more than a collecton of cod psychology, inept philosophical meanderings and self aggrandisement.

    What would have been interesting is an analysis of why the piece of work that is viewed fails as art. Ah the problem here is that the writer would then have to have a clear and strong conceptual understanding of what art is without which it is not possible to say what art is not?

    .. cont.


    Comment by Reuben Daniels


    Criticismal regards form as defining artistic merit. Criticismal notes "For a painter, viewing paintings online is the hardest. I suspect I like a lot on the screen that would grieve me if I were to see the work live" This sort of conceptual confusion does not help. It is not a question of whether the work is 'liked' as here Criticismal makes the error he accuses others of, mistaking liking (its good) for critical analysis. Secondly it might have been more useful to say that we do not listen to a book (we read it) and we do not dance for architecture and therefore we should see/view/experience a work of art in its authentic presentational form. A photograph of Guernica is no substitute for standing in front of the painting itself and experinceing its force. At best Criticismal is not saying about art but if it were serious about critical analysis would have said something about form as a determinant of art (Adorno for example).

    Criticismal suffers most from a lack of any attempt to say what art is. The elephant in the room that the modern 'art' industry avoids for fear of exposure as fraudulent and a massive slide in the financial values of works of 'art.'

    So dissapointing to read a piece that pretends to be criticism but is nothing more than ego. Even more dissappointing for the artist whose work is mentioned in Criticismal, no comment that 'its good' the minimum bourgeois politieness nor, worse, not even a decent critical analysis of the work! It would have been stimulating for the reader to have read a piece on the merits or otherwise of the work or art instead of which we are treated to an onanistic piece of writing that is stimulating only for the writer.


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