In a lecture given at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2013, American philosopher Simon Critchley advanced the idea that artists working collectively nowadays should aspire to obtain through their art “an intensification of the possibility of truth.” The phrase stayed with me and I am tempted to use it in connection to our profession as theater critics.
It is first of all the ethical content of this phrase that makes me think this could be a good objective for a critic too. For what else are we supposed to contribute to the artistic field, if not witnessing, presenting, supporting and archiving the artistic deeds and report about them truthfully? More than that, we are of course supposed to notice how a particular work of art – a new performance in the case of theater – positions itself in the socio-political landscape of its time and how the artists calibrate the equilibrium between ethics and aesthetics in their work.
For all these we bear the immense responsibility of knowing as much as possible about this ever changing socio-political landscape in which we are also acting, in order to understand the trends, the flow of ideas and the patterns of development of an unsettled world. The world we are living in is in the full process of deeply changing its ways of communication and its values and art is closely following, making us, the critics, next in line for a deep change. But are we ready for this change?
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