[-empyre-] relational arts
Hello, the piece which lea mentions at www.gairspace.org.uk/htm/thoreau.htm
is an attempt to bring different discourses into sharp collision.The
seeming isolation of web-receivers of information/image is something I
am concerned about, and I attempted in this brief flash animation to
style of official/poetic discourse on solitude - as embodied in the
Thoreau tradition- with another stream of texts from solitary
experience; in this case, writings found in a series of abandoned police
cells in the Calton, a district in the East End of Glasgow. A measured
and highly self-conscious sense of self flows from the former, and from
the latter a series of self- assertions, territorial markings, anxieties
and non-sequiturs which embody the different senses of control from
these very different ways of being alone and faced with oncoming fate.
Having recently come across Bourriaud's writings, I'm interested in the
idea of the relational, the making sense not only of the juxtaposition
of objects, but the other factor which is then added to that from the
position of the viewer. That is, the individual viewer/experiencers'
relation to the demotic, to slang, to minority knowledges becomes a live
factor in the reception and the unknowability of result in the artists
mind.In computer based work,another important factor is the way in
which the differing functional capabilities of different machines can
inflect the experience of different works. I'm thinking particularly
here of Dan Nortons' www.ablab.org where the different sonic and
processor speed capabilities of different machines produce radically
A few years ago i went to a small cinema in Spain. I can't remember what
the film was, but what i remember about that night wasn't a narrative
but a social feature. No rows of tip-up seats but a dozen or so large
couches, small tables, cushions and other assorted fire hazards dotted
about randomly. A bar at the rear, casual conversations,
a socially interactive relation to what was unfolding on the
screen.(Immaculate sound and projection, incidentally.)
The e-lounge way of proceeding and sharing ideas has something in
common with this I think.
Artist to artist information exchange, with input and curators etc
looking in if they like also has some interesting parallels to PVA
events. Based in Bridport UK, they are a centre for creativity who also
run Labculture at assorted arts centres across the uk. (www.pva.org.uk)
labculture events are intense one-week encounter sessions where there
are technical experts present, but the emphasis is on project-based
creation. Each event is therefore very different, and the non-hierarchic
means of exchange leads to new ways of communicating ideas in a
remarkably short time.
One problem I feel is the way in which artists are willing to let
themselves be classified as "new media" or "digital" artists.
Once this deceptively simple step is taken, we suddenly find that there
are "new media Curators" to patrol the boundaries and validate what
they feel to be theoretically correct.We run a risk of re-running the
debates and issues which surrounded photgraphic media in the 70s and
80s, when the playful nature of structuralist techniques was often
overlooked. Instead, an orthodoxy arose based on psychoanalytic texts
and a puritanical refusal of visual pleasure. It didn't think through
the consequences of its renunciations, and still priveledged the role of
the creator while paying a lip service to a diminishing audience.
The idea of relational aesthetics allows us a bit more freedom from the
What matters is not necessarily the form but the ways in which we bring
them together, and the ways in which audience and makers shared (or not
shared) experience comes into the mix. We can escape from the prison of media-specificity...
"Artists are abandoning the notion of a creative vision, becoming more
like great inventors in their chosen fields.Artists are importing,
changing, interpreting and positioning everything they find. The danger
is that artists, kept busy learning and digging up information, can no
longer get around to developing new media, raising funds, forming
artists groups and so on."
Pipilotti Rist in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist
International gatherings, the micro-cinema movement(such as the Cube
Cinema in Bristol, UK) , and artists curating and teaching themselves in
an open ended dialogue seems to me a logical consequence of relational aesthetics.
I must admnit I'm curious as to how Bourriaud can apply some of his own
ideas now he's head of a large institution. The Palais de Tokio's
website doesn't work too well on my machine...
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