Critical Proximity

Jane Simon
2010 Cultural Studies Review  
This essay is concerned with the question of the 'distance' and 'proximity' between a view and its description and, in a broader sense, between criticism and the texts of which it speaks. In contrast to the tradition of 'critical distance', I argue for a relationship between words and images that allows for words to move towards objects in a manner which enlivens them. Meaghan Morris describes this, in Identity Anecdotes, as a practice of 'embracing a critical proximity to our objects of study
more » ... ather than seeking a distance from them'. 1 This essay responds to Morris's description of critical proximity, and addresses the idea of proximity in relation to critical writing about the visual. I argue for a critical writing practice which pays attention to the variable degrees of nearness between criticism and its object, and which seeks to respond to texts on their own terms. Approaching and writing about texts on their own terms entails foregrounding the specificities and capacities of the medium in question. To question what it means to talk in one medium about the practices of another medium is an essential part of a critical practice that approaches texts on their own Jane Simon-Critical Proximity 5
doi:10.5130/csr.v16i2.1685 fatcat:lwshc4oxmfgxxj7opgu7kdlcyi