Dialogical and relational aesthetic



The interrelation –interaction- between artwork and viewers has been modified with the practice of Relational   and Dialogical esthetic. With these practices Art has taken discursive elements as well as social relations as its subject and material, leaving behind the art object aesthetic

In “Relational Aesthetic”, according to Nicolas Bourriaud (1998) every artist has his own world of forms, problematic and trajectory and there are not necessarily links in terms of stylistic, thematic or iconographic between them.  But all of them work in the sphere of interhuman relationships, in which social exchange and interaction is offered.  It is important how art is engaged in social issues and how it   makes or form communities. When the work is exhibited, particular “Domain of exchanges” can be achieved depending on the nature of work, the participation of the audience and the models of sociability suggested.  “And we must judge that “domain of exchanges” on the base of aesthetic criteria, or in other words by analyzing the coherence of its form, and then the symbolic value of the “world” it offers us or the image of human relations that it reflects. Within this social interstice, the artist owes it to himself to take responsibility for the symbolic models he is showing: all representation refers to values that can be transposed into society (though contemporary art does not so much represent as model) and insert itself into the social fabric rather than taking inspiration from it”. (Bourriaud, 1998, p. 162)

 In The Dialogical Aesthetic  the participatory discursive role of the spectator is crucial for the artwork. According to Grant Kester (2005) “The dialogical practices” require a common discursive matrix (linguistic textual, physical etc.) through which participant can share insights and forge a provisional sense of collectivity”. (Kester, 2005, p. 84)

Leaving behind the   traditions of object making, these artists have adopted a per formative process-based approach. In the work of the Austrian Wochenklausur ( Kester, 2005) the role of dialogue in social engage art is a key point to make work succeed. In 1994 as a small pleasure boat set off for a three hour cruise on Lake Zurich. Wochenklausur , as part of an “intervention” in drug policy, Join politicians, and journalist sex workers and activist from Zurich. He just required them have a conversation, dialogues in which participants interchange ideas and possibly get a solution. Over the course of several weeks Wochenklausur organized dozens of these floating dialogues involving almost sixty key figures from Zurich’s political, journalistic and activist communities. The subject was basically a problem faced by drug-addicted prostitutes in Zurich; they were unable to find any place to sleep and were subjected to violent attacks by their clients and harassment by the police. After several meetings they agree a concrete response to make   the creation of a pension or boarding house in which drug-addicted sex Workers could have a safe haven, access to services and a place to sleep.

Kester argues that    the project of Wochenklausur “mark the emergence of a body of Contemporary Art practice concerned with collaborative, and potentially emancipator, forms of dialogue and conversation. While it is common for a work of art to provoke dialogue among viewers this typically occurs in response to a finished object. In these projects conversation becomes an integral part of the work itself. It is re-framed as an active, generative process that can help us speak and imagine beyond the limits of fixed identities and official discourse”.  ( Ibid.,P.78)

 With Relational Aesthetic and Dialogical Aesthetic the artwork as an  art object is not consider but  as an experience . In these aesthetic public and artist engage in communities to interrelate each other ;  putting away and leaving in the past  the   traditions of object making, these artists have adopted a per formative process-based approach.


Kocur,Z. & Leung, S. eds., Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985. Blackwell.

Bishop, C., 2006. Participation, London/Cambridge: Whitechapel and The MIT Press


About azulrojo

peru/lima- painter prectitioner-art teacher
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