Guest post by Aydasara Ortega
“It is not enough for theory to describe and analyze,
it must itself be an event in the universe it describes.”
Some people consider Critical Theory as being applicable to the fields of Philosophy and Politics but not as significant in Art neither on Literature. They undertake Art and Literature as fields that are primarily aesthetic and, as such, critical theory is not as applicable. Nonetheless, I have learned, as the lifelong learner I aim to be, that Art and Literature are enriched immensely by Critical Theory; independently of whether the artist or author mainly centers on political or social issues.
Among the many lessons learned from Critical Theory in Art and Literature are how there is more to what is instantly obvious, that words and images can be “used” in numerous ways, and that there can be diverse interpretations of a work as well as various suggestions of ideals. Yet Critical Theory encompasses much more than these. Actually, all the things we do rely on strong qualities of mind, what Critical Theory enables, which disposes our critical thinking and empowers us to do them, freely and responsibly, in the following ways:
RESPECTFULLY: Becoming tolerant and open to diverse opinions, recognizing their significance
SERIOUSLY: Being thoughtful about the many ideas, values and issues of the world
PRECISELY: Going beyond a surface with solid rational analyses
IMAGINATIVELY: Entering another’s worldview
THROUGHLY: Working toward a resolution, albeit challenging and open-ended
Critical Theory is as dynamic as the ongoing life’s challenges every individual has to face. Moreover, its liveliness is enriched when one reflects on its wide range. Particularly in Art and Literature, Critical Theory aims at creating and recreating the reflective conditions necessary when one is in front of images and/or words, whether made by another or by oneself.
About the Author
Aydasara Ortega is a Faculty Member of the New York Career Institute. She also makes handmade paper and collages, and teaches Papermaking through Toque de Queda, www.toquedequeda.info.