1. Productive discourse begins with positivity and welcomes constructive criticism.
As audiences, we tend to assume that our expectations mirror creators’ intentions. Therein lies the origin for much of the negativity in public discourse: the inability to engage with an artifact on its own terms. A constructive assessment begins with acknowledging something for what it is. This is the fine line between constructive criticism and hate. While we are open to expressing your dislike, attacking the essence of an art piece discourages comparable work in the future.
2. Imperfections are the lifeblood of discussion.
Human beings are living contradictions. We’re complicated, filled to the brim with thoughts and opinions that run counter to other thoughts and opinions. The only thing certain about internal logic is that, more often than not, it doesn’t make any sense. But our inconsistencies make us who we are, and the goal of discussion isn’t to pretend they don’t exist; it’s to confront them head on.
3. We’re all products of our time.
It would be an oversimplification to suggest that personal taste is entirely a product of the environment you grew up in; we’re more than passive vessels just waiting to be injected with ideological values and preferences. That being said, no one exists outside their time, and we shouldn’t dismiss the effect that our settings have on us. There are generational biases that exist, and as the structures that dictate discoverability and shareability change over time, so do our inclinations as audiences.
4. Art has no expiry date.
The Internet has dramatically changed the way we perceive time. We’ve been conditioned to live in an eternal present – that is, continually foregoing the old to make room for the new. If the root of this panic truly spans back to a yearning for information, consider that taking our time and being patient with art can be even more informative. Like the natural wonders of this world, art will withstand the test of time. We immortalize it in galleries, books, and now the Internet. Don’t rush to experience it all because you simply cannot.
5. Art is an open and ongoing conversation.
Seldom do opinions welcome civil conversation online. Online dialogue has become a critique of the commenter rather than the comment. But people and art are fluid, and it’s imperative we treat them as such. Only when you accept someone else’s thoughts as one possible truth can you come closer to understanding the cultural significance of an artifact, revealed to us over time as a by-product of meaningful discussions.
6. Numbers are efficient, but efficient isn’t always better.
With so much out there to see and hear and consume, our culture’s impulse to numerically evaluate creative works is largely a means to an end, allowing us to make snap decisions about how we should spend our time. A nine is greater than an eight is greater than a seven; it’s easy to speak numbers, but something is always lost in translation. And to place numerical scores at the forefront of critical analysis is to encourage discussions based on very rigid encapsulations of art.
7. For us to grow we need to be challenged.
The human experience is defined by growth, the potential for changes small and large due to continued exposure to new experiences. But embedded in the architecture of the most popular online platforms are complex algorithms working to decipher what makes you you, only recommending that which already aligns with your preferences and filtering out all else. The result is a form of guided tunnel vision, sabotaging our capacity for discursive empathy by reinforcing our biases and ultimately locking us in place.
8. For music to evolve so must music discourse.
To incite change we need to lead by example. The art world has transformed and yet the priorities of those who bring it to light have not. Art is ever-evolving and we must adapt to it in response. Accordingly, our plan is to reexamine our models of discussion and criticism, and create a platform that is a truthful representation of our interests and preferences. A platform that inspires thoughtfulness and passion. A platform that empowers artists and their art.