About The Critique

Links in blue will open the glossary, in a new window.


The virtual critique in CrossTalk is one half of experiencing the exhibition.
You're invited and encouraged to participate by leaving comments, criticisms and questions about the artwork and related issues on the message board in the righthand frame of this website.

The critique is open to all from:
February 1st at 12:00 AM EST until February 3rd at 11:59 PM EST

Registration is free.

Guest Critics                                                                                                            

An accomplished group of six international critics from various art and art theory backgrounds have been invited to both start and then stimulate the critique over the three day period. In addition to direct commentary on the net artworks, the guest critics have been encouraged to post external links and other media that they see as relevant.

Candidacy for critics was based on pre-existing experience making, curating or writing about new media art, and a familiarity with conventions of an art critique.

Those critics are:

Doug Jarvis [ + ]

Frenchy Lunning [ + ]

Helena Reckitt  [ + ]

Leigh-Ann Pahapill [ + ]

Michelle Jacques [ + ]

Ted Hiebert [ + ]


Each registered member gains equal access to features and functions of the message board system.

These include:

Ԧ View forum statistics
Ԧ View the memberlist and groups
Ԧ View online status of other members
Ԧ Search posts and topics
Ԧ View others' profiles
Ԧ Read and send personal messages to other members
Ԧ Choose a custom title
Ԧ Upload your own avatar
Ԧ Start new topics
Ԧ Announce new topics to the board
Ԧ Add voting polls to topics
Ԧ Split topics into separate conversations
Ԧ Merge similar topics
Ԧ Edit your own posts
Ԧ Remove your own posts
Ԧ Edit the posts of others
Ԧ Delete the posts of others

The lack of hierarchy created by giving this much control to each user is intended to foster a critical and social engagement. When every member has the same amount of power, arguments and expressions must be judged by the merit of their resonance with the online community of the critique. A level playing field is set for a truly democratic dialogue to occur.

After The Critque                                                                                                    

Following the conclusion of the virtual critique on February 4th, the curator will make a gesture of software philosophy, and figuratively hand over the keys to the message board for anyone to take up. The login information for the administrator account will be publicly posted, allowing anyone to change and reshape the entire purpose and appearance of the message board, should they so choose.

Background Information                                                                                       

Critique in art is a particular kind of discourse. Certinaly, it has similarities to other acts of speech. However, unlike a political or historical debate that has a linear argument, critiquing art evolves organically. Some structure and strategy are involved, but ultimately it is resolutely irresolvable. Because experiences of art are subjective, there are no verifiable answers; no inherent rights and wrongs. Therefore, the act of critique suggests that its participants should abandon the logic of winning or losing—a logic of positivism or absolutism— in favour of the proliferation of ideas, obstacles and propositions. This willingness to examine alternatives and explore the critical differences between perspectives and experiences of art is crucial to the concept of critique. In this way, it creates an agonistic speaking environment, where conflict is seen as a positive and productive force.

The virtual critique in CrossTalk adds to this agonistic train of thought in the way that every registered member has the same amount of access to the message board's features. This is an intentional gesture by the curator to get rid of conventional hierarchies in large critiques, like moderators and expert panelists. It is also a gesture to give more control to the viewer, the figure of whom is regularly involved in exhibitions of contemporary art, but whose presence and voice are sometimes reduced to fodder for fullfilling an institution's philanthropic or pedagogic mandate. In CrossTalk, at least half of what's on display (literally the lefthand frame of the website) is public real estate. Control over that frame's content and ultimate message or meaning is handed over to be developed at the user's discretion.