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It is also seen as a response to the virtual relat ionships of the Internet and globalizat ion, which on t he one hand have prompted a desire for more physical and
face-to -face interact ion bet ween people, while on the other have inspired art ist s to
adopt a do -it-your self (DIY) approach and model their own “possible univer ses”
(RA, p. 13). This emphasis on immediacy is familiar to us from the 1960s, recalling
t he premium placed by per formance art on t he aut hent icit y of our ﬁr st-hand
encounter with the art ist’s body. But Bourr iaud is at pains to dist ance contemporar y work from that of previous generat ions. The main difference, as he sees it , is
the shift in att itude toward social change: instead of a “utopian” agenda, today’s
art ist s seek only to ﬁnd provisional solut ions in the here and now; instead of tr ying to change their environment , art ist s today are simply “learning to inhabit the
world in a better way”; instead of looking forward to a future utopia, this art set s
up funct ioning “microtopias” in the present (RA, p. 13). Bourr iaud summar izes
this new att itude vividly in one sentence: “It seems more pressing to invent possible relat ions with our neighbor s in the present than to bet on happier tomorrows”
(RA, p. 45). This DIY, microtopian et hos is what Bourr iaud perceives to be t he
core polit ical signiﬁcance of relat ional aesthet ics.
Bourr iaud names many art ist s in his book, most of whom are European, and
many of whom were featured in his seminal exhibit ion Trafﬁc at CAPC Bordeaux 9.
This change in mode of address from “pr ivate” to “public” has for some t ime been associated
w i t h a d e c i s i v e b r e a k w i t h m o d e r n i s m ; s e e R o s a l i n d K r a u s s , “ S e n s e a n d S e n s i b i l i t y,” A r t f o r u m
(November 1973), pp. 43 – 53, and “Double Negat ive: A New Synt ax for Sculpture,” in Passages in
Modern Sculpture (London: Thames and Hudson, 1977).
This is reﬂected in the number of art ist s whose pract ice t akes the form of offer ing a “ser vice,”
such as the Berlin-based U.S. art ist Chr ist ine Hill, who offered back and shoulder massages to exhibit ion v isitor s, and who later went on to set up a fully funct ioning secondhand clot hes shop, t he
Volksbout ique, in Berlin and at Document a X (1997). Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics 55 in 1993. Cert ain art ist s are ment ioned with metronomic regular it y: Liam Gillick,
Rirkr it Tiravanija, Phillippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Car sten Höller, Chr ist ine Hill,
Vanessa Beecroft , Maur izio Cattelan, and Jorge Pardo, all of whom will be familiar
to anyone who has attended the internat ional biennials, tr iennials, and Manifest as
that have proliferated over the last decade. The work of these art ist s differ s from
that of their better known YBA contemporar ies in several respect s. Unlike the selfcont ained (and formally conser v at ive) work of t he Br it ish, wit h it s accessible
references to mass culture, European work is r at her low-impact in appear ance,
including photography, video, w...
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This document was uploaded on 02/20/2014 for the course PHILOSOPHY 244 at University of Tennessee.
- Spring '09