I think criticism is one person’s flawed and subjective account of an experience. What I don’t like about the “rough draft of history” statement is that it somehow elevates criticism to this thing that is set in the record book. It places an undue emphasis on getting it right or getting it down for posterity, and I don’t think criticism is reliable that way. People have all sorts of agendas, and the “rough draft” of history would be implicated in the production of a “one true version” of a history. Also, it diminishes what criticism can do as an elucidation of thought, as an art form on the page, it diminishes what can be really galvanizing and powerful about this form, and it aggrandizes it in a way that is distasteful to me. And if people are writing with that over their shoulders, I don’t think it’s doing them any favors.
A text by La Rocco, written (after reading five pages of Edward Said) as a site-specific piece for the wall of photographer José Carlos Teixeira’s studio as part of his Translation(s), a project developed at Headlands Center for the Arts, 2013. Photo: José Carlos Teixeira.