Culturebot, Everyone's a Critic Mar 8, 2013

by Sophia

One of my favorite moments in Culturebot’s, Everyone’s a Critic, was when high school student, Olivia eloquently expressed how she came, through the process of writing, to be more interactive with what she saw. And how this has helped her trust her empathetic reactions to a series of moments often complex and layered rather than feeling forced to have to make sense of everything.  


This sharing of her process and the structure of the evening invited us, the audience, to do the same: to make sense by layering rather than reduction to one opinion or experience and giving us a chance for complexity to be felt rather than to overwhelm. 


Having different speakers present illustrative clips from performances was wonderful for one could see how even taken out of context, how we could have responses to work with only a few minutes exposure. No one was startled or surprised when we spontaneously clapped at the end of the last Pat Graney “Sleep” clip. Each speaker brought their unique voice and observing lens - some humor, some intellect, some heart. But then it was our turn to discover our own voice.


Making art requires making mistakes – Tommer Peterson observed.

Last night I experienced that sometimes I only discover what I think by being willing to express what I might not yet know. 

That was the experience of the second half of the evening. 

It was a rich tapestry of many threads - sometimes I heard, sometimes I saw and overall I felt the thrum of the beehive like activity of the room.


We were invited to discuss and move freely about the room between conversations.  Initially, I wanted to leave – the discomfort of wondering - Will these conversations feel forced? Will I find a way to engage? Slipped instead into opportunities for me to see/hear/feel as I spent a fair amount of time moving between tables –hovering at the edges and sometimes literally leaning into the circle trying to catch different strands of dialogue. Letting the beehive like activity wash over and around me - I found an environment where after a while my own thoughts began to emerge bear like from their cave. By creating an environment where one could roam, Culturebot gave us a chance to see how our participation is how we integrate what we see/hear.