Monday, July 27th, 2009
It’s a dirty little secret in art and design education that the beloved routine of the “critique” or “crit” doesn’t work. Although many tutors cling to it as an essential way of providing guidance and feedback, plenty of research has shown that it leaves the vast majority of students confused and, in some cases, distressed (trust me, I’ve seen the tears – and from normally “tough” students).
The only purpose the crit appears to serve is to emphasise the tutor’s status as alpha male (or female, but it’s usually male).
The crit was wonderfully lampooned in “Art School Confidential” by Daniel Clowes (transferred moderately well from comic book to big screen in 2005).
The big problem with crits is coming up with things to say. From my observations they have to sound profound, critical and completely vague and meaningless so that what a student thinks is “encouraging” can later be claimed to have been a warning of dire consequences. And with so many students these days, it’s becoming much more difficult to come up with something new.
What we need is a tool to create endless amounts of critical responses to art projects (CRAP) from a few random seeds. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the CRAP generator!
Click the green button to start!
Disclaimer: the words come from a document circulating among staff at the university I worked at, and I don’t know who wrote them (I added some of my own).
Incidentally, if you’re interested in the research I mentioned, drop me a line and I’ll send you a list. It’s interesting that I’ve never found one bit of research that suggests the crit is a positive experience for anyone other than the person doing it.
Friday, June 26th, 2009
“Many things went on at Unseen University and, regrettably, teaching had to be one of them. The faculty had long ago confronted this fact and had perfected various devices for avoiding it. But this was perfectly all right because, to be fair, so had the students.”
“Interesting Times”, Terry Pratchett
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
A poem I wrote while waiting for my friend in Dundee’s Overgate shopping mall.
A rather large girl and her friend walked by, inspiring me to verse.
It’s not anti-fat, it’s anti Lycra and skin-tight jeans.
You’re a great big yellow idol
To the north of Gregg’s and O2,
And you made me lose my appetite
When you lumbered in to view.
I wonder what you’re thinking
When you dress yourself each day.
You clearly do not worry
What others have to say.
You waddle by oblivious
To your sin against good taste,
As you dig in to your pasty
Letting nothing go to waste.
It’s not so much the rolls of fat
Like some gross lemon jelly;
It’s the way the cloth rides up your side
Showing off your fearsome belly.
And I see you have a skinny friend
Who’s no oil painting either.
But she stands a chance of pulling guys
With a slug like you beside her.
As you pass your ass strains at the seams
Of your skin-tight denim trousers,
And I wonder if you really think
That your taste in fashion wows us.
May he who invented Lycra
Burn forever in hell’s fires
For the crimes it’s since committed
On girls’ fat round spare tyres.
Thursday, November 13th, 2008
For the person who has everything, a customised Muppet for only $90
I tried to make one that looks like me but it came out looking a bit like Boris Johnson.
Monday, September 22nd, 2008
This cartoon was in the current edition of Private Eye. It’s had me chuckling all weekend.
Thursday, September 4th, 2008
The parallels were amazing: in the wake of Hurricane Katrina thousands of Americans were huddled together in a sports centre wondering where their president was. And in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, thousands (just about) of Americans were huddled together asking the same question.
I was glad to see The Daily Show spot the irony. This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. Enjoy:
Saturday, August 9th, 2008
I loved this when it was broadcast on The Daily Show. Take a look – as well as being extraordinarily funny, it’s also pretty good analysis of an appalling “news” network.
Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
Spotted on Brighton pier. Remember, it’s dangerous to swim or dive unless someone from security is helping…