exeunt magazine

A Manifesto for Digital Criticism



«The theatre critic can be a kind of an ugly mean thing; squatting in the stalls, «like spit» as Enda Walsh declared, or «crepuscular» as AA Gill described the practice (and that’s AA Gill saying that). The old models are giving way, and this is how that is happening:

To take the multiple formats and media of the web, its dialogic principles and multiform platforms, its rapid deployment and archival qualities, as an opportunity to reconsider the role of the theatre critic.

To guard the role of critical praxis in the final stages of theatre writing’s digitalisation. To sustain criticism in dialectical opposition to the lively hand of PR. The medium is not the message: the digital evangelist will not be mistaken for the angel of history.

To enact and document the changing role of the critic: from guardian, to curator, to scheduler, to filter, to friend. To work alternate timeflows from the punchclock critic, to pursue the depths and shapes of the projective city.

Just as Heaney would sign his poems «Incertus», we will guard against certainty. To reconsider techniques of narrative closure, the role of mythologising artists, and to reflexively interrogate our own appeals to authority.

To believe that theatre can actually tell us something about the world. To diminish insularity, disinterestedness, and theatre for theatre’s sake. To return a sense of cultural and political futures to theatre criticism.

To work with the digital humanities in order to cultivate a porous interface between mainstream criticism and the academy. To occupy «the third space».

As paywalls and paid-apps steadily enclose, to return a sense of editorial optimism to the free-web. That far from Babel, the free-web represents the best opportunity to present a networked, dynamic, cultural resource.»