Experiments in Criticism
Experiments in Criticism is a yearlong education program devised by C Magazine to nurture and promote interdisciplinary critical literacy around contemporary art. Participants in a series of workshops aimed at youth aged 18 to 30, developed with and guided by community leaders, explore unique approaches to art criticism, and a symposium in Spring 2021 offers a forum for presenting forms of experimental criticism.
How can we encourage, facilitate and produce deep, meaningful engagement with the objects, texts and experiences that we encounter in the art world and beyond? What practices foster this production? In Experiments in Criticism, we bring together writers, critics, curators, artists and other artistic practitioners and culture workers to reconsider how we approach the work of criticism by experimenting with practices of approaching, looking at, reflecting on, thinking about, talking about, writing about and otherwise responding to contemporary art and culture.
Experiments in Criticism is less interested in creating more “experimental” critics per se, and more interested in imaginatively challenging didactic, categorical and canonical thinking, toward a more capable, inclusive and polyvocal critical landscape. We each come to art with our particular embodied perspectives, sensorial systems, subjectivities, histories, values, politics and ethics. How can we attune ourselves in ways that increase our abilities to detect, intuit and explore nuance and associations that may not be hardcoded in the subjects in question? How can we foster a rigorous, accessible, engaged and compelling climate of criticism here in so-called Canada that is as much about the art and the artist’s practice as it is about the larger politics, concepts and contexts that surround it? Who is the public of Canadian art criticism today? Who is writing? Who is reading? What does generous, constructive criticism look like today, when a crisis of politeness might preclude some forms of generative intersubjective difficulties? How can we strengthen, support and amplify non-Eurocentric critical modalities?
Through workshops, panels, roundtables, performances, screenings, lectures, and other programming and space-making, participants will consider what it means to cultivate an environment of experimentation and productively complicate processes of perception, reflection, discussion, and writing about art. We are interested in approaches that are intertextual, intergenerational, intersubjective, embodied, playful, performative, literary and capacity-building.
WORKSHOP SESSION 1
A workshop series—based on a curriculum created by educational consultants in the visual arts sector-runs five times throughout 2019/20, culminating in a symposium in Spring 2021. Each workshop series is led by an artist, writer, curator or educator who will interpret and actuate the curriculum guidelines based on their practice, expertise and approach to artistic discourse. While the curriculum guidelines provide a fundamental infrastructure meant to ensure the development and expansion of critical looking, thinking and analysis skills, C Magazine encourages deviation from traditional workshop formats, allowing for experimental modes of teaching and production. Possible activities may include talks, tours, performances, screenings, discussions, writing workshops and other forms of collaboration.
This project aims to engage a comprehensive cross-section of pedagogies, artistic practices and discourses, and examine what criticism entails in a variety of spaces. We aim to centre BIPOC, LGBTQQIP2SAA, differently abled, and culturally diverse participants and audiences, and foster connections between emerging, mid-career and established practitioners. C sees all of the above as integral to the continued growth of Toronto’s art community.
This project is designed to live on. Following each of the workshop series, leaders will be asked to make an instalment in the curriculum archive, based on their experience. This accumulating curriculum can and will be used as a template for infinite future iterations, either organized by C, or in collaboration with organizations across Canada. These workshops will continue to create space for new forms of critical discourse that extend beyond the magazine’s regular core activities, striving to develop and enrich critical voices and further the understanding of evolving visual arts practices.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for general inquiries about the program. C Magazine is committed to paying artists and writers fees which meet or exceed the CARFAC minimum fee schedule. For press information, please contact Jaclyn Bruneau, Editor: email@example.com