Real-Time Reviewing as a ‘work-in-progress’ view of static art
Many TV programmes on art are now following the style of my real-time reviewing (eg Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits by Laura Cumming and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Matthew Collings, both on BBC Four).
My real-time book reviews have their second anniversary this month.
I have also been speculating upon the ‘journey’ that I mention in one review (‘Children of Epiphany’ by Frances Oliver). Was the journey *different* by virtue of the fact that I knew I was intent on publicly writing *about* the journey while making that very journey? I sense that public real-time reviewing — hopefully giving alternative perspectives to previous readers of the book as well as to its new readers — also creates a wonderful experience, yes, a different experience from what would otherwise have taken place, i.e. for the person spending time and effort in creating the real-time review. It is perhaps the new way to *read*, one that, *psychologically*, is now only possible through using the internet in this way. One of the more positive things about the internet, among a lot of negative ones.
For me, there is a brilliantly cruel essay – within the story ‘Memento Mori’ in DP Watt’s collection: An Emporium of Automata – i.e. an essay upon the psychology of collecting, the wastage of life in so doing, then when one is older the realisation that it was a waste of life followed by the self-justification then needed for the very existence of one’s collection and its interconnections (some real, some forced). This was a very painful parallel with my own burgeoning collection of ‘real-time reviews’ (with inter-connections direct, indirect or hyperlinked) now, today, at this the Autumn of my existence creating meaningful or meaningless ‘collections’ of words in the shape of writerly endeavour: those multifarious DF Lewis stories, vignettes, nemonymities, baffles, fables, veils and piques: some published, some not. I finished DP Watt’s story with a deep sigh…but a sense of satisfaction that it held a truth worth cherishing. Truths are gems to collect, however repercussive.