Oct 8, 2020


(“843?” Zine Edition 1)

I’d like to start off by saying I’m not one who takes criticism well. Externally I am able to take that feedback and appear neutral. But internally it takes me a bit more time to objectively look at feedback and apply it. So when the time came to look at the progress of the podcast “I Like My Tea Sweet” and zine ‘843?’ I was a bit anxious. What would it feel like? What would it be like? Most critique sessions leave me tense with intense relief after. During the last TINYisPOWERFUL creative meeting I am shocked to say that I was a lot less tense and anxious throughout the process. I believe this was because of a couple reasons. 
For starters the method used was the Liz Lerman “Critical Response Process”. This method is composed of 4 steps. The first being Statement of Meaning. in this step each individual (besides the artist) states what was meaningful and or exciting/interesting about the work. 


With “ILMTS” a piece of feedback that stuck out to me was when Morgan (fn) mentioned how she appreciated that the host and guest equally engaged and gave direction the to conversation. This made me very happy because that’s a major objective for the “ILMTS”. The aim is to have it be in all variations of the word a conversation. Everyone in the episode and beyond should be able to,  and feel as if they have an equal voice on each and every topic discussed. And eventually the hope is that the podcast is built and made in such a way that each and every person, every guest, every host, everybody working on the podcast and most importantly every listener knows that they are an important aspect of the conversation. So hearing that from Morgan let me know that others can see that intent to. 


As for the ‘843?’ one thing that caught my attention was when JM (fn) brought up how the zine, while also in written form, was so different from the TINYisPOWERFUL newsletter. This is ironic because at the beginning it was thought that the zine would be some – what of a continuation of it. But as the project has flourished it has become its own creation inspired by the newsletter, but not its replacement. 


The second step of this process was Artist as Questioner so this opened up the floor for Aysha and I to ask questions to our fellow creative members. If I am being honest I would say this part I wasn’t really engaged with. I think part of it was the fact that I was a primary note taker during this meeting (I will get more into that and how it helped alleviate my criticism anxiety) and another was the fact that Aysha and I had already come – up with a critique form. Make no mistake, the form did help with making sure my mind didn’t go blank, but it also didn’t force me to really think deeply about what questions I would be asking because, well I already had. So all in all I would say this was the step where I was the most disengaged with. 


Neutral Questions was the third step. I really liked this section, because being directed questions that weren’t steeped in opinions was very comforting. It definitely helped me answer each question with less defensiveness and more with a ‘even if I don’t know the answer to everything it’s still going to be alright’ mindset. For instance a question by Kit (Kit Loney) was ‘Are you aware of who is engaging’ . It was one of the few times I didn’t feel unprepared by saying no. This is because this step allowed me not to look at the question as a judgment of how well I am able to obtain metrics, but as genuine interest in knowing who is engaging with the podcast. Another question by JM was, ‘Have you decided if you are going to ask people to pay or donate? . This has been a question in the back of my mind, but all I could simply answer was no, but with an awareness that just because it was a no at that moment didn’t mean that it will be a no forever. In fact I am excited to research and help find ways to keep the project funded beyond its current timeframe. 


Causally called Opinion Time the last step was the one that gave me the most anxiety, but actually will probably have the most impact on the zine. When JM said the fonts were difficult to read it made me realize that during the design process aesthetic was placed above readability, this will be something that is explored in the next edition. Really, it prompts the question of how can we still uphold a high regard for typography as an art form while also being mindful to include those with additional vision needs? Will that look like more readable fonts, bigger font sizes, a different layout? The possibilities are quite expansive!
This whole process helped to ease my anxiety by making the critique process feel more objective instead of personal. On top of this process I believe there were a few more attributes that can be given credit for helping.


For instance, I was also in the comfort of my own home. We did the whole process through ZOOM so I could have my camera off and not feel forced to keep a neutral face throughout the whole process. In real life I try my best to keep uncertainty and disagreement from my features during processes like such. So not having to do that allowed me to feel more like I was being more naturally me during the process. I was also one of the primary notetakers during the process. Anyone who has been a notetaker knows that it’s important to listen and record what others are actually saying instead of what you thought you heard. Another reason being a notetaker helped was that hearing them say it and writing and reading the notes while they were saying it helped me stay more objective and focused in the moment then I have been in the past. 


All in all I look forward to the next everything! The next creative meeting (where we will be taking a critical look at Tiny Culinary) and the critique session for ‘The 5 Healths’ series we are currently recording on “I Like My Tea Sweet” and the second edition of ‘843?’.