In a previous blog I mentioned the frustration I have with not being able to present my work to my peers for valuable critique. I am not alone in this frustration. I also enjoy seeing the work of my peers in various stages of process. Seeing others work can be inspiring and sharing dialogue can often provide links relevant to my own work. It can be a win win situation, whether presenting my own work or seeing others.
As Zoom has become an almost daily part of my life since the UK lockdown I decided to use this as a platform to connect with my peers and their work. Group Crits are something that a lot of artists first encounter during their arts education. They instill a fear of being judged, found wanting. However, they are one of the things that a lot of us miss once we leave the environs of the institution.
I posted a link to my website page, 'Work in Development', and it opened up a dialogue. Other artists reached out and said they too would value group critique, a space to share their work in development.
Anyone who has sat through group crits at college or university may well have memories of long, long days. Depending on the number of crits taking place that day, participants were always left feeling completely rung out. If you happened to be presenting towards the end of the day, the chances were you weren't going to get the same focussed feedback as those earlier in the day. Personally it always felt like torture, the tutors doing their best to push students to look at, focus and give valuable feedback. The students, their heads so in their own work, struggling to come out of their bubble and take notice of something that wasn't theirs. There were, thankfully, those who weren't stuck in their own heads!
It's a good job then that the free Zoom meeting is time sensitive. With only 40 minutes allowed I had to give some thought into how those minutes could be best used. I had a few conversations with artists who had expressed an interest and a format was born.
Speedy Crits - No more than 10 participants with one artist presenting (unless presenting a collaborative work). The presenting artist sends links to work ahead of the Zoom event. This can be done via shared file, instagram feed, website or pdf file. This allows time for the participants to familiarise themselves with the work being presented. It also allows the presenting artist to give as much or as little explanation as they wish, dependent on the stage that their work is at and what they want to gain from the crit.
A call out was uploaded across social media and the first artists put themselves forward to present.