In an academic theoretical performance of a play within a play, Foucault’s 1978 piece entitled What is critique? asks about the function of critique, exploring the questions and formats that critique can take. I call it an academic play within a play, as the very exploration that Foucault does in this piece is the practice of critique – practicing critique through exploring the functioning practice of critique. This leaves me with a question that cannot be answered, however – if the practice of critique can be explored through the practice of critique, is there any possibilities to break out of the practice of critique in order to explore critique without critical practice?
Critique is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as being either “an essay or article in criticism of a literary (or, more rarely, an artistic work); a review” or “the action or art of criticizing; criticism” (Oxford, 2012). While both definitions are relevant, it is interesting to note that, while critique is regarded as having a function regarding art or literary works, there is no inclusion of critique’s function in any other format. For instance, the function of critique in criticism of institutions, social norms and functions, philosophy, or human/animal/earth relationship is completely invisibilized – left hanging outside the definition as if their very exclusion is to imply that the use of critique in such a manner would be an improper use of the function of critique, or perhaps no longer