Thom Donovan is doing some guest blogging at Harriet, and this week's post about criticism is very much worth a look-see. Thom reminds us that whacking each other over the head is but one way we might consider conversing. From the post:
Another way that I would proceed in writing criticism, would be through the Hippocratic oath of the poet, designer, and architect Robert Kocik: at least do not do harm. When we write criticism one should ask themselves what they are doing, and whom they are serving. How can/will criticism function for power? How for one’s own interests—or in the interest of one’s friends, family, community, institution, nation, world? How can critique be in the interest of the world one would want? Too often ‘negative’ criticism makes claims about what is ‘wrong’ with something/someone before saying what it would want from poetry/art/cultural phenomena? What are the conditions of a work’s making? How is it positioned within a socio-historical context? How are aesthetic decisions co-constitutive with their social context? If we get ‘negative’ guided by these questions then so be it.
Donovan evokes Deleuze here, & manages to squeeze in one of my favorite quotes, projecting it as way of making more room than currently on offer for a "desiring" criticism: "every love is an exercise in depersonalization on a body without organs yet to be formed.."