bring your own bullet points

Suggestion to critics of new media events: please write about the work in front of you and not how the show measures up to the one in your head. Have read several reviews of the latter type regarding BYOB nights (one-time gatherings where participants bring projectors and beam their projects onto large communal walls). One review spanked artists for not consciously tackling the history of projected art in the contemporary gallery scene; another questioned how successfully the show combated institutional reliance in art practice.

Neither of these have been declared goals of BYOB events, from what I have seen or read. The BYOB FAQ page announces such intentions as "making a huge show with zero budget" and "an exploration of the medium of projection." No one can accuse the organizers of biting off more than they can eschew.

It's difficult to write about new media work, especially when artists use obscure technical processes or have back stories for the art you don't know about. It's even harder when you only have one night and much work to cover. Nevertheless, please try. Criticism starts with description, and theory that addresses that description, and then how that theory connects to a larger body of theory. You can't really bypass the first step--people notice you aren't saying anything.

If your description is partial, you can explain that. Take pictures and write about the pictures. Those are your building blocks, not your preconceptions.