Saturday, February 11, 2006

The aesthetics of decision-making

Still thinking about artistic autonomy and complicity, and my own tentative attempts to apply Latour's notions of assemblies to research and design practices, I came across an interesting Bureau d'études piece on "reciprocal expertise" and the "aesthetics of decision-making".

For my own reference, I've quoted a pretty big chunk of the article below, and highlighted bits I'd like to return to some other time.

"Art is now able now to concretely move into spaces which had previously been considered outside all artistic legitimacy. Principles of action, which may have had a utopian character some thirty or forty years ago - for instance, attitudes as forms, process-based or concept-based art, installation or situation art - can today be reinterpreted as operative modes of the real. The artist equipped with a mobile telephone and a portable computer is an off-site labourer. Potentially, art can happen anywhere. The experience of art can constitute a model for complex contemporary activities: the production of intelligibility is not linked to any prescribed finality. Perceptive competencies, specific to the artistic realm, thus enter into congruency with the development of a multimedia, multimodal world. With their common tools, the transversality of networks and the general transformation of activities, the public and the artist are potentially co-producers of the public sphere.

With the current self-externalisation of an ever-increasing number of artistic practices, questions arise as to art's use-value and operative value in unprotected spaces. Questions of this kind concern both urban practices and net-based practices, in which the public is no longer situated downstream but is already present within the artistic experience itself. The first place thus constituted is moreover that of information exchange and debate between the public and the artists. However, in this space, a number of different traditions and different cultures are at work. The need to exchange values in the course of the form-production process, complicating the exercise of art, also enriches it through the introduction of new differences. Art no longer has to seek out a public inasmuch as the latter is the necessary condition of the realisation of the exercise itself. The public sphere is no longer merely to come. It is already constitutive of the work's conception process. And it reconstitutes it continuously.

The potential diversity in terms of how participants interact fosters the implementation of competencies and opens up the project to new perspectives. Under such conditions, information exchanges between people enriches the knowledge of everyone individually, whereas the global competency of a group increases beyond the mere juxtaposition of forms of knowledge and abilities. Rather than reducing the singular to the collective, it is interesting to conceive the development of the collective in reciprocity with the development of the autonomy of each individual...

The rhythm of the city, in interaction with numeric space, is set by different agendas. The mirror of the virtualisation of exchanges, the project is developed around meetings, seminars, debates and forums. These meetings, generally exerting a pressure to attain certain objectives, overlook the very protocols which regulate them and that over-determine their effects. The culturally constructed procedures of deliberation and decision-making are in fact naturalised to the benefit of the status quo. These modalities deserve to be examined for what they are.

The space of the debate supposes certain concrete presences, which are deployed in specific spaces. Speech is implied in the bodies that conjure up a stage: tone of voice, audacity, timidity, annoyance, complicity, seduction, suspicion, aggressiveness, laughter, boredom, pleasure and so on. The quality of an environment, how close the chairs are placed to one another, the direction they are facing, the warmth or coldness of the site, as well as its acoustics, all influence exchange. The distribution of locations and roles determines the specific modes of circulation of speech. Discursive space is highly plastic.

Deliberation, for instance, involves a certain number of attitudes: it places value on negotiation rather than on taking power, on the quest for hypotheses beyond the mere expression of opinion, on translation abilities rather than the abstruseness of discourses, on the circulation of information rather than its retention. What are the rules of the game? Who gives whom the floor? What is the sequence of the different timeframes of expression and how is it arrived at? The way in which the information stemming from these exchanges is processed and the means used will orient the decisional consequences of the deliberation. Access to user-friendly, shareable and transmissible tools becomes both an aesthetic and an ethical question. The function of these tools, technically formalised, is to throw into question the attractors of meaning and the geometry of the bifurcations in which the debate unfolds its stakes and issues. The tools of deliberation are highly plastic.

Decision-making represents the horizon of deliberation. Therefore, the modalities of deliberation include, in fine, the stakes and issues which will determine the decision-making process and the actual decisions made. To that end, the space, the protocols of verbal exchange, as well as the media for processing the information are far more open-ended than usage suggests. These multiple dimensions can become the site of aesthetic investigations. The decision-making process is highly plastic."


Blogger jean said...

Hmmm...lots of resonances with relational aesthetics, yes?

Blogger Anne said...

Yup - and for some reason, although I forget where I read it, I always think of the following more-or-less quote: "relational art might just become an excuse for artists to throw great art parties and be avant-garde". Hahahaha. Like discussing Deleuzean folds over wine and cheese!

Blogger DilettanteVentures said...

"Art no longer has to seek out a public inasmuch as the latter is the necessary condition of the realisation of the exercise itself. The public sphere is no longer merely to come. It is already constitutive of the work's conception process. And it reconstitutes it continuously."

I posted today around this issue with regard to a debate around the work of Red76. Duchamp, in 1957, outlined the constitutive nature of the public in art production...


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