Critical Run (art)

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Critical Run is an art format[1] developed by Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel. A critical run consists of a group of participants debating whilst running.[2] The aim of a critical run is to debate so-called "emergency topics" - problems and issues the world faces at the present time (the time at which the critical run is taking place) often focusing on topics that are hard to address and unpleasant to acknowledge. Such topics include climate change, xenophobia, wars, hypocrisy, and apathy, and can be very challenging within the context of the host city.[3] The format has often been activated in correlation with the exhibiting of Geoffroy's Emergency Room, an art format where Geoffroy invites artists to respond to the news of the day with ultracontemporary art.[4] Each run lasts roughly 25 minutes and is set at a pace accessible for all fitness levels.[5]


The point of a critical run is to activate the awareness muscle (a metaphorical muscle embedded within Geoffroy's central art philosophy);[6] through debating and running, the participants are asked to consider their positions on critical topics and defend or expand their perspectives, the physical activity component is an expression of a metaphor.[7] The running metaphorically showing the haste needed to deal with these topics,[8] while also eliminating barriers the participants might otherwise build between themselves and the debate,[9] often increasing the honesty with which they express their opinions.[10]

Global Reach

Critical run has been activated in Beijing, New York City,[11] Cairo, London, Istanbul, Athens, Kassel, Sao Paolo, Hanoi, Istanbul, Paris, Copenhagen, Moskow, Napoli,[12] Sydney, Wroclaw,[13] Bruxelles, Rotterdam,[14] Siberia, Karlsruhe, Barcelona, Aalborg, Venice, Virginia, Stockholm, Aarhus, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Washington,[15] Lyon, Havana, Prague, Caracas, Trondheim, Berlin, Toronto, Hannover, The Hague, Newtown, Cartagena, Tallinn, Herning, Roskilde and more,[16] for over a decade. The Critical Run format has been activated on invitation from institutions such as Moderna Museet Stockholm, Moma PS1,[17][18] Witte de With Rotterdam, ZKM Karlsruhe, the Liverpool Biennale[19], Sprengel Museum Hannover, Museum Villa Stuck[20] in Munich and the Venice Biennale[21] amongst others. [22] The critical run in Munich was conducted between the museum director Michael Buhrs and Geoffroy via instagram live due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020.[23]

The format has also spontaneously been activated and can be activated without the artist present, through an agreement with the artist, ensuring the run is in keeping with the art format rules. There have been debates on over 100 topics worldwide.[24] Participants are extremely diverse and have been from varied backgrounds and have included Swedish art critics, German police, American climate activists, Olympians, Chinese Gallerists, Brazilian students and many others.


  1. Sterling, Bruce (2009-07-02). "Critical Run". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  2. Murawska-Muthesius, Katarzyna (2016), "Masterpieces and the Critical Museum", From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum, Routledge, pp. 99–114, doi:10.4324/9781315583433-7, ISBN 978-1-315-58343-3
  3. "Critical Run - Is it dangerous to be critical in Napoli?". CasertaNews (in italiano). Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  4. "Emergency Room | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  5. Sterling, Bruce (2009-07-02). "Critical Run". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  6. Nunes, Brunella (2019-06-28). "Thierry Geoffroy: 'a arte de emergência e a autocrítica podem salvar o mundo'". Hypeness (in português do Brasil). Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  7. (2019-08-08). "Colonel: We must act quickly!". UNESCO. Retrieved 2020-07-30. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  8. Tan, K. "The physical and poetic processes of running. A practice-related fine art discourse about a playful way to transform your world today".
  9. Baden, Sebastian (2014-08-23), ""Occupy-Wall Street", "Ocularpation: Wall Street" und "Emergency Room"", Kunst und Öffentlichkeit, Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, pp. 113–141, doi:10.1007/978-3-658-01834-4_7, ISBN 978-3-658-01833-7
  10. "Svedig kunstdebat blev stor succes". - Online magasin og kalender for billedkunst (in dansk). 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  11. "Clocktower - Radio". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  12., Dedagroup Wiz-. "Emergency Room Napoli by Thierry Geoffroy/Colonel". Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  13. "Critical Run at the Congress. Thierry Geoffroy's artistic format / European Culture Congress". Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  14. "Rotterdam Dialogues: The Artists - Events - Programma - FKA Witte de With". (in Nederlands). Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  15. "Critical Run". (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  16. "Critical Run at the Congress. Thierry Geoffroy's artistic format / European Culture Congress". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  17. "Emergency Room | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  18. "1 May: Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel". Metropolis. 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  19. Colonel, Emergency Room Thierry Geoffroy / (2011-03-19), liverpool run vacuum cleaner 4, retrieved 2020-07-30
  20. "Museum Villa Stuck #STUCKATHOME". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  21. Russeth, Andrew; Russeth, Andrew (2019-05-06). "Running the Stones of Venice, for Art: Artist Thierry Geoffroy to Jog the Mind and Body at Events During Biennale". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  22. "META MONACO - Thierry Geoffroy /Colonel". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  23. Geoffroy, Thierry. (2020) IS IT OK TO BE CRITICAL DURING A PANDEMIC?. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  24. Cabo Maguregui, Alberto Iñigo. "La discontinuidad artística y lo sin-sentido. De la discontinuidad configurativa del objeto arte en la producción de sentido, al corte y co-presencia de lo sin-sentido en el proyecto artístico".

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