RELATED TERMS: Socially engaged art
Contributed by Corinne Rockall, January 2011
A relational aesthetics views artwork as social interstice, as an art that takes as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space. Bourriaud points to “a radical upheaval of the aesthetic, cultural and political goals introduced by modern art.”
The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.
In relational art, the audience is envisaged as a community. Rather than the artwork being an encounter between a viewer and an object, relational art produces intersubjective encounters. Through these encounters, meaning is elaborated collectively, rather than in the space of individual consumption.
For Bourriaud, “The possibility of a relational art (an 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),
Bourriaud. N (2002) Relational Aesthetics. Dijon: Les Presse du Reel.