Relational Aesthetics and Experience of Otherness

Abstract : In 1998, Nicolas Bourriaud thematized the aesthetical and political issue of 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, Nicolas (1998), Relational Aesthetics, Paris: Presses du Réel, p. 14]. Some critics has been raised regarding the real political impact of the art works used by Bourriaud as paradigmatic examples for his claim. In this paper, I argue that one way to explore further what is at stake in the open concept of relational aesthetics would be to consider the first person experience of the encounter with the other and the way it signifies. In this perspective, I then point out three landmarks in phenomenology and cognitive sciences, and use different art works to exemplify them : first I draw on the husserlian descriptions of intersubjectivity to show how the other's behaviors can be part of an art form; second I refer to the enactive approach of Participatory Sense-Making as a convincing scheme for understanding collective dynamics of emergence in participative art; third I refer to Levinas' phenomenology to show that some aesthetical experiences might rely directly on an ethical sensibility.
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Fabrice Métais. Relational Aesthetics and Experience of Otherness. EUROPEAN SOCIETY FOR AESTHETICS CONFERENCE 2019, Jun 2019, Varsovie, Poland. ⟨hal-02428161⟩

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