I’ve written an essay entitled “Infinite Stupidities.” The title comes directly from this Mark Pagel video found on Edge.org. My essay appears as two guest blog entries for the esteemed and accomplished critic A.D. Coleman on his blog Photocritic International. I guess there’s a little bit to unravel to understand the context of my essay. But you’ll find it all there in hyperlinks. The text centers around my (failed) attempt to get people in an online forum to read and (intelligently) discuss a talk A.D. Coleman gave October of 2011 at the Hotshoe gallery in London on the diminishing role of the photography critic in the popular press.
Both A.D. Coleman and I think the marginalizing of critical writing on photography in the popular press has certain implications and will have effects on a particular kind of photographic practice.
The larger discussion raised here are the effects of an increasingly fragmented discussion in a media environment that operates more on a networked basis rather than a top-down approach that traditional media once provided. With the loss of the authority of the popular critical voice, whither lay context for an uniformed populace? What happens to history (and knowledge thereof) and what exactly constitutes the context that a body of artwork now appears in? Histories seem to be implied or lost altogether in our clipped forum and blog entries—and contexts for discussions become increasingly relational and contextual in a place (the Internet) that has no implicit context. Perhaps our discussions have always appeared in relational contexts, but now the context of our Internet digressions are evermore so slippery with the destruction of any physical context in our atomized communities. Our discussions now seem to exist solely in a relational cloud or fog. History no longer is so linear or didactic (but should it ever have been? Were not its didactic qualities the root source of conflict among so many disagreeing parties?). And to fall into the reverie of metaphor: histories and the contexts for any understanding seem to act more like clouds that move like storms over the landscape of time. They blow this way and that depending on where one stands only to eventually blow over. Some of us are affected by the squalls, and for others it has no effect depending on where one happens to be and the source (or lack of) one’s perspective. Histories and context and the meaning they once provided—easily lost and fleeting as they always have been—seem more easily lost (or fleetingly retrieved) in our networked environment.
pt 1: http://nearbycafe.com/artandphoto/photocritic/?p=10954
pt 2: http://nearbycafe.com/artandphoto/photocritic/?p=11107