The Last Critique

The Last Critique


My presentation of “Mourning Michele, Evening Sky.”

Last Monday, October 5, 2015, was my very last major critique. We have one annual critique a year in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA program, and for the first and second year students, the critiques are in the spring semester and we present work done over the year. But for thesis year students – the year I am now in – our critique is in the fall semester and we present our thesis proposal.

critique student view

A view from behind the podium at a 2014 critique presentation.

I always love critiques. Not that they aren’t stressful. They are. But they are also what we are here for, and the conversations around my work and the work of my colleagues are always so interesting to hear. And at this point in our MFA progress, we’ve had over two years of working really closely together. We know each other’s work, each other’s weaknesses, and each other’s strengths. We know we will be showing these projects together in a group exhibition in May 2016, and that we will be working all year to make work that will have an impact on our viewers and on our lives.

Screen shot

A screenshot of the SketchUp model of my project.

This year I was ready to present. I had stayed up late for several days. I made a 3D model  of my project in SketchUp, I went to the fabrication facility and made a mockup of an object to bring to the critique. I practiced my powerpoint presentation over and over, cutting out words I didn’t need, checking my voice for inflection, hoping to be clear & concise. I brought in new images, looked over my research, and practiced more. In grad school we give a lot of presentations. I’m pretty slick in powerpoint by now, especially compared to when I started.

My critique went pretty well. I’m bringing elements of celestial maps and astrophysics as metaphors to describe a personal experience of grieving. It’s a project that will be a challenge to complete and it was also challenging to present. But at the critique, as always, I received the support and perspective I need to make this project – Mourning Michele, Evening Sky – really move forward.