Showcase: Constructive Criticism

The Showcase is a critical event that weighs a substantial amount of our final grade and determines if we get into the third year show. There was a significant amount of preparation into this event on behalf of the faculty, artists and curators. In hopes of not repeating last year’s mishap,* the whole class worked hard to getting external judges to experience our pieces and decide on those which can be included in META (the final year show). I received a lot of constructive criticism but ultimately my piece was not chosen. I have a couple of hunches as to why. The biggest and un-ignorable criticism was that the piece did not accurately convey the message. This might have happened because upon suggestion from a friend I omitted the portraits of Lindsay – our patient who transitioned from sick to healthy. Without him the audience’s attention is focused on the drum and heartbeat. That was a bit of a mistake, mostly because the connection between the two was not perfect yet. What my professor said was that the user spent a lot of time learning to use the piece instead of experiencing it. Perhaps one of the most valuable pieces of criticism was sound. I had neglected to realize the sound component of my piece (the drum and the beep of the ECG). The experience would be heightened with multiple speakers, which is not what I did. My professor urged that I re-submit the piece with multiple sound sources and I would get an automatic boost in grade. Despite having years of piano and vocal training I still under-value the audio. I think this is a systemic problem – too much bad music is overplayed and over-valued. I can’t distinguish between good and bad music. This is something I can work on.

Even though I didn’t get in, I learned a lot from this year: coming up with a project proposal/concept, setting goals/deadlines, meeting with an advisor, asking for help. I think because I was unsure about the proposal I took a chance with it, a decision I can be proud of.

*Last year some of the students felt that judging was biased and those who should have been included weren’t. It cause all students, faculty and administration grief.