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Fugitive Dialogues #1

October 25, 2011

Fugitive Dialogue #1 (Private)

Gavin Murphy, Joanne Laws, Valerie Connor, Fiona Fullam, Michaële Cutaya and James Merrigan

Galway, Sunday 16 October 2011


Thoughts on Fugitive Dialogue #1 Contemporary Criticism

Art Criticism as a ‘floating signifier’ for lots of different approaches to writing about art:

From academic research papers, to the press release or exhibition review, the various facets of writing on art circulate at different speeds, involve various obligations /restrictions, address different audiences and occasionally pose potential conflicts of interest for the writer.


Function – Fugitive Papers

Acknowledging that the discipline is multi-faceted, we then discussed how Fugitive Papers could operate.  The research project is already aware of its potential to move ‘fugitively’ within the cracks of existing platforms, and discourses, and the website proposes a dual function:

  • To reflect on “the  ‘social silence’ which allowed economic folly to unfold more or less in full view, and has infiltrated the Irish cultural discourse so thoroughly that it is extremely difficult, and even unfashionable, to be critical in Ireland at this time”.
  • To open up a “temporary critical space within which to organize opinion and reflection on art and art-writing, as a public activity”, with emphasis on the “emergence of new critical publics”.

Audience /Distribution – Options

  1. 1.       The existing art audience – who may or may not read what is currently being written?

Ways of making this audience more alert:

  • Judgement – more ‘opinions’ in art criticism
  • Art Writing – more creative and experimental writing to subvert the format
  • Design – more thought on layout, pacing-  to keep the reader’s attention

Bite-sized and thought provoking, Edits are vital life improvements curated in a fast-paced well-researched collection”.(Monocle website)

  • ‘Snippets’ provide the reader with space, to take on the task of longer more theoretical texts, providing an opportunity to be more active (Brechtian Epic Theatre, Artaud theatre of Cruelty) in creating tentative links between things rather than being spoon fed. (see Gracelands, ‘sorry and thanks’)
  1. 2.       The non art audience – less informed about what art does?


  • Distribution networks – library, local newspapers, local radio station
  • What would be the function here – informative? Educational? Entertainment?
  • Format/Tone/Content?

Pursuing these avenues may provide an opportunity to address broader issues (and even more urgent ones than the ‘crisis is criticism’?), those of :

  • Democracy &Citizenship – vested interest in community, national identity.  The need to be actively informed, to question the motives behind those who seek to inform you, and to reach your own conclusions. The space ‘allocated’ for resistance within democratic models .
  • Localised networked infrastructures  – libraries, regional media outlets, focus on local, resists homogenised global formats (see Fay Nicholson, printed installments in newspaper)
  • Function /relevance of Contemporary Art – insights into what art does, based on references to theories of relational aesthetics, dialogical aesthetics, socio-political discourse, collectivity and the individual, but represented in a way that is readable and relevant to the reader.
  • History – Reflection on shared histories, folk-fictions, political struggle, ruminations and re-enactments of historic events bringing them to the forefront of collective cultural memory


Relationship between the online presence and printed platform

Should a decision be made to address one audience and exclude another? Should it be accessible to all?

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