Participation (Documents of Contemporary Art)
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The desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers is one of the hallmarks of twentieth-century art. This tendency can be found in practices and projects ranging from El Lissitzky's exhibition designs to Allan Kaprow's happenings, from minimalist objects to installation art. More recently, this kind of participatory art has gone so far as to encourage and produce new social relationships. Guy Debord's celebrated argument that capitalism fragments the social bond has become the premise for much relational art seeking to challenge and provide alternatives to the discontents of contemporary life. This publication collects texts that place this artistic development in historical and theoretical context.
Participation begins with writings that provide a theoretical framework for relational art, with essays by Umberto Eco, Bertolt Brecht, Roland Barthes, Peter Bürger, Jen-Luc Nancy, Edoaurd Glissant, and Félix Guattari, as well as the first translation into English of Jacques Rancière's influential "Problems and Transformations in Critical Art." The book also includes central writings by such artists as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Joseph Beuys, Augusto Boal, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. And it features recent critical and curatorial debates, with discussions by Lars Bang Larsen, Nicolas Bourriaud, Hal Foster, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist.
Copublished with Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
gave modern writing its epic. By a radical reversal, instead of putting his life into his novel, as is so often maintained, he made of his very life a work for which his own book was the model; so that it is clear to us that Chari us does not imitate Montesquieu but that Montesquieu - in his anecdotal, historical reality - is no more than a secondary fragment, derived from Chari us. Lastly, to go no further than this prehistory of modernity. Surrealism, though unable to accord language a supreme
keener. Relation to the earth is too immediate or too plundering to be linked with any preoccupation with identity - this claim to or conscio.usness of a lineage inscribed in a territoty. Identity will be achieved when communities attempt to legitimate their right to possession of a territory through myth or the revealed word. Such an assertion can predate its actual accomplishment by quite some time. Thus, an often and long contested legitimacy will have multiple forms that later will delineate
influences the present in return. Having said that, when we look at relational artists, we find ourselves in the presence of a group of artists who, for the first time since the emergence of conceptual art in the mid-1960s, simply do not take as their starting point some aesthetic movement from the past. Relational art is neither a 'revival' of some movement nor the return of a style. It is born of the observation of the present and of a reflection on the destiny of artistic activity. Its basic
world' or a social interstice can update Situationism and reconcile it, in so far as that is possible, with the world of art. [ . ·1 . The Behavioural Economy o f Contemporary Art 'How can you bring a classroom to life as though it were an artwork?' asks Guattari.' By asking this question, he raises the ultimate aesthetic problem. How is aesthetics to be used, and can it possibly be injected into tissues that have been rigidified by the capitalist economy? Everything suggests that modernity was,
186//CRITICAL AND CURATORIAL POSITIONS The Utopia Station in Venice, the city of islands, is part of a larger project. Utopia Stations do not require architecture for their existence, only a meeting, a gathering. We have already had several in Paris, in Venice, in Franl