Excerpt from a litrature review I did in 2010 as part of my Degree
Within Bourriauds book Relation Aesthetics the section ‘Artwork as social interstice’ Bourriaud describes ‘’The possibility of relational art (taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space’ (Internet 1). This seems slightly at odds with the quote 3 in this interview. ‘I have no idea why critics picked up participation’ (P2).
What however is a concern of others and mine is the idea surrounding wether the human interactions are merely ‘conviviality’ Bourriaud claims its part of the ‘typology I proposed in Relational Aesthetics not the centre of the book again its not an essay about participation’ (P2).
Despite his denying of importance it is relavent to my work as it puts into question the viewer or participant. Are they just a mere prop? Will there exist any real meaning for them? Also this questions my motivations around the purpose of art, not wanting to be didactic but not simply aesthetic either. It also brings to mind philosopher Jacques Ranciere and the work of Roman Ondak’s (Good feelings in good times).
Ranciere believes ‘every spectator is already an actor in her story; every actor everyman of action, is the spectator of the same story’ (Internet 2). Ondaks work employs actors to queue where there is nothing to queue for, and clapping at non-events with which the unaware public also participate. This questions what is real? In One Day Sculpture contributing author Melanie Gilligan believes this a conversation that is commonplace. ‘From the fields of business management to those of political theory – the argument that today labour, consumption and social behaviour are increasingly framed and treated as performance’ (Gilligan. P50).
So in summing up, the work and research so far has raised some very interesting questions for me to decide upon within my own work. Foremost is a concern that I may be creating work which only acts as an alleviator, window dressing, in place of any real engagement. Ironic as this is part of a job I already do for a store in Nelson.
 Conviviality –friendly, lively, enjoyable. Used in Relational aesthetics by Bourriaud with a degree of faith in the potential of ideas surrounding participation.
Images below from http://www.notcot.org/tag/art/