Three ways not to write a review

6 Feb

There are no reviews in Arc 1.1. You won’t find a run-down of this month’s hottest books, movies or games. But that’s not to say there’s no criticism.

We need new ways to think about the artefacts – imaginary, intangible and otherwise – with which we surround ourselves. New approaches, new categories, new measures of value and beauty and new defences against the homogenised, compromised and fake.

In short, we need a new kind of criticism.

In our first issue, we wanted to look forward to what’s coming, not focus on what’s already here. That’s the challenge we set our invited critics: tell us three ways your area of culture is evolving.

Filmmaker Simon Pummell wonders if there’s anywhere left for dreams to hide in our over-explained, over-mediated galleries and museums, where “the phone image and the direct experience are so visually close as to be interchangeable.

“Inert radar machines start to turn. Anatomical specimens pulse and flex. A line of skulls obtained from the criminal and insane blend into a short film. A mixture of wireless internet and geo-positioning has created an invisible aura of information about these objects: an aura so geo-specific, it hangs in the air as surely as a cloud of dense smoke.”

Games journalist Leigh Alexander says it’s time to wave goodbye to platforms and say hello to games that grow along with you: “ever-living, continually-evolving spaces that feel increasingly real.

“Scratch at the talk of “continuing an immersive narrative” and of “creating virtual words that live forever,” and you’ll quickly hit a commercial imperative. Since it’s in everybody’s interest that a lucrative narrative does live forever, this hardly matters. The best way a successful game can reward its fans is by living longer.” 

Writer and literary academic Adam Roberts explains why science is not and never was the point of science fiction. “The epitome of SF is the ape-man’s bone, thrown in the sky only to turn – suddenly, amazingly, eloquently – into a spaceship.

“It is hard to say why this is as powerful as it is. Its effectiveness does not translate easily into the idiom of rational or scientific discourse. But this is the transcendent quality SF fans love, the genre’s prized ‘sense of wonder’.”

Find out what else our guest critics had to say in Arc 1.1, available in late February through Zinio for the iPad, tablets and mobile devices, and on Kindle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: