One other point regarding reflexivity and "media art"/"contemporary
art"... i haven't read Bishop's edited book yet, but if the general
position is anything like her article on collaboration and
"relational aesthetics" in Artforum a while back, it should seem
problematic, to say the least, for people involved in the discussions
here. Not because of it's lack of attention to people working in
"media" or "networks" per se, but because it so obviously stakes out
a conservative politics through conflicting notions of ethics and
aesthetics. How does one write a text on "collaboration" that seeks
to be a critical analysis, and manage to move from Oda Projesi and R.
Tiravanija to Thomas Hirschorn as exemplary of a challenging
aesthetic and political practice?
How, for example, can this "analysis" be taken seriously as anything
but conservative re-establishing of Art values when the work of CAE,
RTMark, CLUI, SubRosa, etc... doesn't even get mentioned. And not
because those names have never appeared in ArtForum before. The
critique of Bourriaud and the dominant, celebrated forms of
relational aesthetics are IMHO right on. But where she ends up is
troubling, if not unexpected from someone publishing in October and
Speaking of reflexivity, it's really hard for me to read the critique
without recalling Michael Fried's "Art and Objecthood" from the 60s.
His attack on the "theatricality" of minimalism sounds a lot like
Bishop's attack on the concern for "ethics" in relational aesthetics.
She stops short of challenging the notion of a reified ethics
discourse, which turns politics into professionalism, and instead
retreats into the value of the individual (and of course, white male)
artist through the very mask of professionalism (e.g. "good art").
For an account of the discussion that unfolded between G. Kester and
Bishop following the artforum text see (with some good comments from
Ted Purves as well):
This is all an overwhelmingly US context i'm operating in (and
reproducing), so i acknowledge that and its limitations in
Some other "participation" books/writing that i'm more interested in
and some of Warren Sack's texts have been interesting for me...