Update: The Wheeler Centre has uploaded edited videos of two Critical Failure sessions - film and theatre - on its website.
The ABC's opinion website, The Drum, today runs my piece The Return of the Amateur Critic, which is in part an extension of the discussion at the Wheeler Centre last week.
Does the digital revolution really represent the end of culture as we know it? Are the barbarians waving their iPhones at the gate, ripping up the sacred canons while the last bastions of light (represented here by such grave illuminati as Peter Craven and Cameron Woodhead) stand in the keep like Theoden King in The Lord of the Rings, strapping on their greaves while the forces of darkness howl for Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton?
Well… not really. I've been a keen netizen and observer since the mid-90s, and I figure that, as with the Bible, everything you might say about the internet is true. Yes, it is a bewildering sea awash with trash, populated by subterranean creatures with the social graces and charm of Darth Vader's TIE fighters. Yes, it represents late capitalism at its most pornographically decadent. Yes, its crassness and illiteracy can surpass belief.
And yes, the internet is where I can find some of the most dynamic and intelligent commentary on art and society. This is especially true of discussion about theatre, which as a sub-section of Showbiz has always been poorly attended in Australia's daily press. As a nexus for various arts - music, performance, visual art, literature, digital design and so on - theatre is an outward-looking culture. Unlike literature, its public is always present in the flesh. These immediacies mean that some of the most stimulating and profound thinking about art, culture, literature and society I've been reading in recent years is going on in the theatre blogs.