Thesis critique post mortem…

Thesis critique post mortem…

Tom Ruiz presenting during thesis critiques

Thesis critiques have come and gone. Yay! Now it’s time to figure out where to go next. There is really nothing I have experienced like the critiques in the Interdisciplinary Arts MFA programs here at Columbia College Chicago. They can be pretty intimidating, but they are designed to give you a set of tools to take with in your professional art practice.

I’ve described them in past blogs, but for new readers I’ll give you a brief overview. Essentially the format is that you have a 50 minute time slot to present and receive feedback.  Generally, this is a power point presentation of things that you have been working on and plan on doing for your thesis installation. Then it opens up to faculty and students in the audience for them to ask questions and/or make comments. Sometimes it’s very helpful, others it’s very discouraging.

In all honestly, my critique didn’t go quite like I had planned it to. I went in feeling pretty confident in my project, I walked out questioning everything. Now I’m at the point where I need to clarify what it is I’m talking about and probably just as important, if not more, how to tell everyone that. The more I sit on the feedback I received, the more I understand what it is I want to do. It’s what I presented, but not how I presented it.

Let me explain that a bit. I write and edit a zine called Post-Punk Parenthood (I’m sure you all are tired of me talking about this at this point, haha). It came across that the point of this is to radically change the world. I am not interested in changing the world of parenting and economics. Sure I want to talk about how the economy has co-opted parenting as a massive money making industry, but… I am more interested in people telling their stories in regards to parenthood on the edge.

All dressed up

And I want to make drawings with my kids and about friends and family. If the format of a zine is causing too much of a stir to get the message across in this academic setting, then I am more than open to the idea of editioning a handmade book of essays. That’s what I’m interested in. So this is me doing a practice run on the clarification that I need to tell my faculty.

So in retrospect, I guess a bad critique is a good critique. I may have walked out of the room very discouraged last Thursday, but I think that I might actually be more determined to do what I really want to do. At least that’s how I’m feeling right now. We’ll see how I feel once I get a chance to sit down with my advisors. It helps to keep reminding myself that there no way to go except forward… That graduation is just around the corner.