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The Ethics of Critique
Two-Day Conference by Michael Rebhahn

Tue 24 July 2018, 10.00 – 17.00
Lichtenbergschule (Mensa)

Contributions in English or German with English subtitles
Free admission

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According to its definition, critique is an act of distinction: between the successful and the failed, the true and the false. This results in an enormous task that must be fulfilled with responsibility, care and impartiality. The inflation of critical practice as well as its fragmentation towards a narcissistically exaggerated hyper-critique increasingly undermine these categories, however. Not least against the background of an informal join-in culture
in social media, the conditions and varieties of critical practice have undergone a decisive change: authorities have been shifted, professionalism eroded — now anyone can pose as a critic by claiming public space for their opinion. In the setting of an unfettered ‘mouthing off’, argumentation and style deteriorate; explanation is replaced by assertion and instead of nuanced knowledge, one encounters ignorance that purports to be informed.

The Ethics of Critique is a two-day contemplation of the forms, means and gestures of critique, its conditions, possibilities, aims and boundaries. The composer Johannes Kreidler will defend himself against applause as an instrument of power, the music journalist Robert Barry will explain the changes in the basic conditions of critique in the age of algorithmic opinion-forming and the poet Nora-Eugenie Gomringer will ask where the demarcations lie between artistic freedom, public access and censorship. In addition, the effect and practice of critique will be discussed in two panels. The first is ‘How to deal with It?’ and asks: what does critique trigger — intellectually and emotionally? How does it in uence individual working processes? The second is ‘How to Do It?’: what are legitimate and what are unacceptable means of critique? How does social media change the quality and language of critical acts?

10:00 Statements & Reactions: Cooperation with the Talking About Music course


13:30 Lecture Nora-Eugenie Gomringer: Poetry – not so boring after all. Wie und warum Eugen Gomringers Gedicht “avenidas” con einer Hauswand verschwand

14:30 Roundtable: How to do it?
With: Theresa Beyer, Peter Meanwell, Kate Molleson and Leonie Reineke
Moderation: Michael Rebhahn

16:00 Discussion Space (Optional) 

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