relational aesthetics

Posted by Christina McPhee | Fri Apr 21st 2006 12:41 a.m.

On Apr 20, 2006, at 8:28 PM, Ryan Griffis wrote:

> Or for a more current example, read Claire Bishop's crit of
> relational aesthetics, which is so a contemporary "Art &
> Objecthood." She also "gets" relational aesthetics and that is
> where her crit comes from... despite her (very) valid points about
> the denial of conflict in Bourriaud's relational aesthetics (and
> its simulation of egalitarianism/anarchism), her crit comes down to
> a defense of "Art" and its boundaries (gender, class, etc) - hence
> the importance of Gillick and Hirschorn to her narrative. i mean,
> someone wants to challenge the "collaborative" practices of
> Tiravanija and that's who they come up with??
> anyway, just some quick thoughts... that are maybe way off the
> topic of abstraction, at least as it's being discussed here.
>

thanks Ryan for the really interesting reference. I found Bishop's
crit online here...

http://roundtable.kein.org/node/202

http://roundtable.kein.org/files/roundtable/claire%20bishop-
antagonism&relational%20aesthetics.pdf

Bishop is critical of Gillick's scenarios as sort of feel good
contexts without a context. Wallpaper: in front of (?) the wall,
people can do something else together, parallel play.
Hirschorn quite the other way, setting up situations that "give of
myself, to engage myself to such a degree that viewers confronted
with the work
can take part and become involved, but not as actors" (Hirschorn,
interview with Okwui Enwezor, 2000) ; while another 'antagonist',
Santiago Sierra, forces viewers into actors 'behind the wall".

'[at the Spanish Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2003)] "Wall Enclosing a
Space" involved sealing off the pavilion's interior with concrete
blocks from floor to ceiling. On entering the building, viewers
were confronted by a hastily constructed yet impregnable wall that
rendered the galleries inaccessible. Visitors carrying a Spanish
passport
were invited to enter the space via the back of the building, where
two immigration officers were inspecting passports. All non-Spanish
nationals, however, were denied entry to the pavilion, whose interior
contained nothing but gray paint peeling from the walls, left over from
the previous year's exhibition. The work was 'relational' in
Bourriaud's sense but it problematized any idea of these relations
being fluid
and unconstrained by exposing how all our interactions are, like
public space, riven with social and legal exclusions."

-christina

> ryan
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  • Salvatore Iaconesi | Fri Apr 21st 2006 1:38 a.m.
    Artists and/or Artisans.. isn't this what it is all about?

    is it about art? or is it about the people?

    let me try to explain my (maybe uncommon) point of view.

    What i am currently experimenting on is the "not_human".

    Separate aesthetics from concept, move the *new* aesthetics *inside* the
    concept
    by performng, basically, three steps:

    eliminate humanity
    substitute it with artificial life
    let artificial life express itself.

    Let me make an example:
    The context is "relationshps".

    Create an "universe" in which relationships are not_human,
    meaning that they follow paradigms which are parallel to the
    human ones, but different in nature and substance:

    love becomes force of gravity, sexual attraction becomes body_mass,
    intercommunication becomes acceleration, and so on..
    Nature gets redefined, physics get redefined, spirituality and
    mysticism get both redefined..

    The visual/sound components of the aesthetics don't make any
    practical sense to the "user" of the work: 3D shapes representing
    the artificial benigs running around, changing dimensions and
    colors according to these new re-defined artificial_feelings,
    and the universe itself reacting tho the universal_mood of
    the "population";
    the sound of the universe is the sound of automas chit-chatting,
    having sex, arguing, looking for one another...

    (this is a short description of a work i just completed in the shape of
    a mini-website and a gallery installation. for anyone interested/curious
    it can be found at:

    http://www.artisopensource.net/Socializers/index.html

    )

    *Where* is the work of art?

    is it in the visuals/sounds? is it in
    the existence of the artificial_life itself? is it in the
    artificial_universe's time/physics/space/...?

    Is the *next step* just "not_human"? Or are we about to cross a
    border which is all about a major advance in the meaning(s) of the
    word "conceptual"?

    and then, leaving for a second my possibly too extreme point of view:

    getting back to the first line of this message: did Duchamp "decide" the
    divorce of the Artist from the Artisan? I think not, as he moved the
    discourse to the "concept".

    We are experiencing the deep evolution of the digital tools, day by day.

    Digital art forms and disciplines are evolving fast: ask me what net-art
    is
    and i will give you a different answer each day.

    We are also in the process of re-mixing: some of us are not distant from
    what
    some "april-fool" artists do all the time. One gossipy example comes up to
    mind right away: Cattelan. Does he do art? does he do communication?
    does he fool everyone with his "works"? is he famous just because he
    "knows people"? ;)

    You take, for example, the works of 0100101110101101.org and tell me in what
    they are different: they both grab a pop-concept (an icon of the public-mind)
    and distort it, focusing on communication and on, again, public-mind communication
    so as to produce the work of art.

    does the concept of "frame", "gallery", "visitor" etcetera make sense anymore?
    Is the work of art in the *work_of_art* or is it in the identification of
    the icon?

    Are they talking to *ME* with their works? or are they talking to everything
    that is around/inside/over/below me, so that I get the message, too?

    And this is just an example.

    ciaociao
    salvatore [xDxD]

    (oh, by the way... hello to all, as this is my first message on this list
    :) )

    >-- Original Message --
    >To: rhizome <list@rhizome.org>
    >From: Christina McPhee <christina112@earthlink.net>
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: relational aesthetics
    >Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 23:41:53 -0700
    >Reply-To: Christina McPhee <christina112@earthlink.net>
    >
    >Bishop is critical of Gillick's scenarios as sort of feel good
    >contexts without a context. Wallpaper: in front of (?) the wall,
    >people can do something else together, parallel play.
    > Hirschorn quite the other way, setting up situations that "give of
    >myself, to engage myself to such a degree that viewers confronted
    >with the work
    >can take part and become involved, but not as actors" (Hirschorn,
    >interview with Okwui Enwezor, 2000) ; while another 'antagonist',
    >Santiago Sierra, forces viewers into actors 'behind the wall".
    >
    >'[at the Spanish Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2003)] "Wall Enclosing a
    >Space" involved sealing off the pavilion's interior with concrete
    >blocks from floor to ceiling. On entering the building, viewers
    >were confronted by a hastily constructed yet impregnable wall that
    >rendered the galleries inaccessible. Visitors carrying a Spanish
    >passport
    >were invited to enter the space via the back of the building, where
    >two immigration officers were inspecting passports. All non-Spanish
    >nationals, however, were denied entry to the pavilion, whose interior
    >contained nothing but gray paint peeling from the walls, left over from
    >the previous year's exhibition. The work was 'relational' in
    >Bourriaud's sense but it problematized any idea of these relations
    >being fluid
    >and unconstrained by exposing how all our interactions are, like
    >public space, riven with social and legal exclusions."
    >
    >
    >-christina
  • Rob Myers | Fri Apr 21st 2006 5:52 a.m.
    The trained seal of approval that is Relational Aesthetics (The Institutional
    Theory + Suspension Of Judgement - Radical Commitment) is unlikely to get its
    coat based on the chinstroking of Octoberistas. Pointing out that there is
    someone behind the curtain doesn't help. That someone still has social
    relations.

    Despite Bourriaud's protestatations, RA is deeply, achingly, embarrasingly
    managerial. It is the managerial mode of regard embodied in materials that
    managers recognise: assets, particularly human assets.

    And RA is auratic. Because without the aura of management -uh- art, what
    differentiates the social and aesthetic incompetence of RA from just actual
    social and aesthetic incompetence?

    Both these qualities can only increase if people need their passports or
    whatever as part of the beautific images of managerialism that RA give us as
    works. Managers' egos will not be deflated by an "art" of ever stronger
    management of Real People in ever more tighly controlled additions (or
    revelations) of managerial value (or power) in social situations.

    Bishop's assessment of British art criticism in the 1990s is depressingly
    accurate but there is an account of art from that time that gives us something
    to work with. Julian Stallabrass's concept of the Urban Pastoral (from "High
    Art Lite") is far too close to the bone of RA to leave unused.

    - Rob.

    PS - In a probably futile attempt to dodge a Tindalosian Fisking, I would like
    to point out that my own art is not RA, and because of the technical and
    indexical content it has it would not make very good RA-art. But is frequently
    concerned with various scales of relationships.
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