Relational Aesthetics:

" It refers to installations and interactive events designed to facilitate community among participants (both artists and viewers). Rather than producing objects for individual aesthetic contemplation, Relational artists attempt to produce new human relationships through collective experiences. These practices have their roots in earlier art movements, namely Dada, Conceptual art, Fluxus, and Allan Kaprow’s “Happenings.”"

"Where does our current obsession for interactivity stem from? After the consumer society and the communication era, does art still contribute to the emergence of a rational society?
Nicolas Bourriaud attempts to renew our approach towards contemporary art by getting as close as possible to the artists' works, and by revealing the principles that structure their thoughts: an aesthetic of the inter-human, of the encounter; of proximity, of resisting social formatting."
-Review of Relational Aesthetics / Postproduction by Nicolas Bourriaud
via Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

-some seedling thoughts/questions: why are the beginnings of relational aesthetics associated with post-war avantgarde art movements in Europe?

more fluid art histories can account for the role of performance and ephemera in indigenous cultural praxis, artist as mediator of knowledge between divine and community, 'activatations' like traditional festivals, cermonial photography rituals, social rites intersecting with public performance, relational + functional creativity

Source 1:
The Racial Imagination of Dada:
Source 2: Film, Charcoal, Time: Contemporaneities in Gold Coast Photographs, Erin Haney

How do you understand the role of an artist?: An Introduction.⁣

⁣The Igbo traditional concept of “Ohaka: The Community is Supreme” is expressed in the indigenous understanding of the artist role’s as service to community. Learning more about this, I began to research conceptual ideas of who an artist is and how art functions. While ‘Ohaka’ is specifically Igbo, this relationship between art and community can be found in many cultural contexts. About two years ago on a research tour exploring different understandings of ‘culture’ within Ghana, I met an artist called Almighty God. (They’re not on instagram but their work is well documented online if you’d like to know more, v interesting person and talented artist). Anyway so, almighty mentioned that they’d changed their name to reflect their gratitude towards God for their creativity. ⁣
Unlike the artist-individual hierarchy, to them, an artist is a vessel for divine knowledge, which is then expressed publicly. This reminded me of ‘Ohaka’, and other pre-colonial functions of art that Uche Okeke refers to in the ‘Natural Synthesis’ Manifesto on slide 6 and 7.⁣

The role of an artist was a huge conversation for post-colonial African states- basically: “now that we’re here with this country after centuries of domination, how on earth will we create a separate identity?…”.⁣

Goes without saying that this is merely a springboard, far from exhaustive + not at all prescriptive. Each slide is a whole book(s) on its own, especially when unpacking the underlying complicated notions of ‘pureness’/ ’authenticity’, inherent ‘african-ness’ and the politics of a nation-state. I would argue that this came with its own baggage and isn’t necessarily de- or anticolonial by virtue of including historically ’African’ aesthetics alone. That itself is pretty nebulous considering global contact did not begin with European settlers, and ‘Africa’ as well as the various nation-states created are v. messy constructions. All the same, its off of the work that these artist and thinkers began that I am able to question further.⁣

Looking forward to getting into these histories and conceptualisations of an ‘artist’. ⁣
⁣From our instagram post: