A Very Short Critique of Relational Aesthetics : Radical Culture Research Collective (RCRC)

 A Very Short Critique of Relational Aesthetics : Radical Culture Research Collective (RCRC)

Bourriaud champions art that understands itself as an experimental production of new social bonds – as “the invention of models of sociability” and “conviviality.”

That said, Bourriaud has been an effective advocate for the contemporary tendency to emphasize process, performativity, openness, social contexts, transitivity and the production of dialogue over the closure of traditional modernist objecthood, visuality and hyper-individualism.

But he acknowledges that the artists he writes about are not concerned with changing the system of social relations – capitalism, in our language.  Relational artists tend to accept what Bourriaud calls “the existing real” and are happy to play with “the social bond” within the constraining frame of the given.  Bourriaud tries to put the best face on this kind of practice, characterizing it as “learning to inhabit the world in a better way.” (p. 13)

At most, relational art attempts to model the bandaging of social damage and to “patiently re-stitch the social fabric”:  “Through little services rendered, the artists fill in the cracks in the social bond.” (p.36)

전복시키는 등의 과격한 변화애 관심없다. rather accept, play with it, and bandaging it. – 이것과 관련해서 아방가르드를 계승하는 동시에 다르다고 주장한다. 

But Bourriaud goes much further, positioning relational art as the heir to the twentieth century avant-gardes:  “Whatever the fundamentalists clinging to yesterday’s good taste may say and think, present-day art is roundly taking on and taking up the legacy of the twentieth-century avant-gardes, while at the same time challenging their dogmatism and their teleological doctrines.” (p. 45)

In Relational Aesthetics, we are in the register of post-structuralist commonplaces:  Foucault’s “technologies of the self,” Félix Guattari’s delirious subjectivity machines, Michel de Certeau’s “Practice of Everyday Life,” micro-bio-politics as an ethic of love and a technic of living – an orientation rather easily deflected in practice into what Stuart Hall has called “adaptation” as opposed to “resistance.”

The old avant-gardes, Bourriaud tells us, were oriented toward conflict and social struggle; The new relational avant-gardistes “are not naïve or cynical enough ‘to go about things as if’ the radical and universalist utopia were still on the agenda.” (p. 70)We would put it differently.  Precisely formulated, relational aesthetics represents the liberalization of the avant-garde project of radical transformation.

즉 예전의 아방가르드처럼 전복적인 예술을 지향하는 것은 아니고, 이 급진적 변화 모델의 해방을 추구한다. 

Undoubtedly, the avant-garde tradition continues to be transformed by its own process of self-critique.

Who are the consumers of relational art? The cultural élite of the dominant classes, primarily, supplemented by the socially ambitious layers of a de-classed general public – the “culture vultures” and would-be cultural élite who form the crowds passing through the big biennials and exhibitions.

In general, this audience does not tend to overlap with the people actively attempting to generate pressure for deep social change.  the social separations, stratifications and (self-)selections of the art system enact a liberalization – that is, a de-radicalization – of social desire. relational aesthetic은 급진주의 지양한다. 

Meanwhile, the radical processes of social experimentation are taking place elsewhere: The politically salient site where non-capitalist social relations are modeled today is not the gallery or exhibition-based relational art project; it is the activist affinity group – and the popular assemblies, forum and network processes, activist camps and mass mobilizations that articulate it with larger social movements and emergent struggles. We’re sure effective collaborations between artists and social movements are possible.  But we don’t think such collaborations need the neutralizing institutional mediations implicit in Bourriaud’s relational art. 

we question the assumption that art institutions are the most productive or appropriate form of institutionality here.  We put no faith in the trickle down of sociability from the art world; what we see too much of is the appropriation and displacement of social desire from the streets into the aesthetic forms and affirmative circuits of administered art.  오히려 현장에서는 역방향으로 사회로부터 예술로 흘러들어가는 경우가 더 많지 않은가?? 

이제 올드 아방가르드의 전복적인 역할은 더 이상 art site에서 담당하지 않는다. 그러한 역할은 이제는 보다 전문적 집단에서 맡고 있다. 부리요는 만약 예술이 그런 역할을 수행해야 한다면 그것은 neutral해야 한다고 보고 있다. 그러나 이러한 그의입장에 반론 제기하는 사람들이 많다. 


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