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Criticism as creation

Project leader: Emmanuel Wallon (HAR)

In collaboration with:
École normale supérieure (rue d’Ulm) - research team Thalim/Arias
Théâtre de la Ville (Paris)
Federal University of Bahia (Brazil), Doctoral school and Theater school
University Waseda (Tokyo), Department of Theater & Cinema studies

As criticism has spread to numerous fields, embracing varied genres, from reports to expert assessements, using the most diverse media, from reference journals to social networks, and finally expanding its authority from the press to universities, it seems to have lost some of its peremptory aspect since the end of the 1970s. Although echoes from ideological controversies find their way to us through many historical works, these controversies which troubled previous periods of history seem on hold at the beginning of the 21st century, as if schools and chapels were now able to coexist via a harmonic academic symposium.

Converted into the aesthetic field, political opinions quietly confront, forgetting clamors in cafés where people were discussing how revolutionary was a novel, a movie, a fresco or a performance. Polemics aroused by artistic movements and emblematic artworks are muted, in comparison with debates which left a mark in art history, from the quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns to the provocations of Cobra, from the Nouveau Réalisme Manifesto to the new wave’s claims or the alternative theater. By stopping the progress of avant-garde, did criticism handed over to a good taste eclectism? Or did it simply get away from the influence of great ideologies – marxism, structuralism or freudianism – in order to be more sensitive to the variations of perception?

The project "criticism as creation" aims at studying its objects, tools, topics, figures, protocols and concepts, from the artistic and intellectual fields from which it is fueled. To do so, we will focus on the contradictions of today’s criticism, depending on whether it deals with artworks, devices, machines or processes : whether it examines pieces from a renowned specialty or realizations resulting from combining techniques ; whether it wants to understand studios and workshops or verifying that its systems are coherent ; whether it wishes to be scholar or popular ; and whether it finally obeys what is required from knowledge or communication.

Labex Arts-H2H

The Laboratory of Excellence in Arts and Human Mediations is part of the “Investments for the future” program since 2011. As part of this program, its members conduct research following three main lines: situations, technologies, hybridization.

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