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Karen Alheli Mata Luna

On Publishing Art and Design Critique

As we know, nowadays, because of the level of concentration, lack of time and probably a tendency to reject the academic canon for its elitist vocabulary and subjects, most young and creative people do not read academic or critical texts on a daily basis to enrich their own practical approach.

This set of problems has been considered by thinkers, designers, or producers of intellectual goods, in our current period, with the incentive to produce alternative channels to distribute and visualize textual knowledge.

The lack of critical thinking, fostered by theoretical reading, makes design a vulnerable field. Many creative people are unaware of their position within their social sphere; this generates a precarization of their practices and a lack of resistance to power structures.

As creative individuals, it is essential that we adopt a definite position in critical, philosophical, and sociological knowledge, and not only from an aesthetic point of view. Apparently, utilizing aesthetic canons, criticism and trends cease to be avant-garde and only promote the consumption of beautiful goods.

Built on the premise that an exposure to critique can generate critical thinking and practice in the creative field, the structure of this thesis is based on four principal questions: what is critique? How has the sociocultural context of today changed the consumption of academic literature? Which printed forms did critique use in the past? And which possibilities can we expose today?

On the other hand, there are continued debates such as, should philosophical critique, academic literature, or critical theory be textual? Do different possibilities exist to “read”, deliver, and understand critique? How can design and designers contribute to textual knowledge without a dichotomy between theory and practice? Does a compromise exist between visual and textual elements? What is the duty of designers and thinkers regarding this current period of immediacy and spectacle? Who is more responsible, writers or designers? These are some secondary questions that are covered in five main chapters: Critique – Rethinking Its Terms and Relevance, Critique as a Practice, Magazine as a Medium, Historical Examples, and Practical Approach.

With the help of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, Matt Malpas, Gwen Allen, Alice Twemlow, among others, as to theory, and also including a review of editorial projects such as Dot, Dot, Dot, Aspen, October, Permanent food, Artforum, among others, the final purpose of this project is to develop prototypes of magazines conceptualized and based on text, image, and text-image categories. Content is taken from previously published material and open-source publications. By using pre-existing texts, a political position can be adopted that fosters a space in which young minds can rethink current problems in their own fields and trenches.