Brad Troemel: Peer Pressure, 2011

Over the past 20 years, the theory Relational Aesthetics has interpreted social exchange as an art form. Founding theoretician Nicolas Bourriaud describes this development as “a set of artistic practices that take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context”. In reality, art erroneously known to typify Relational Aesthetic’s theoretization hasn’t strayed far from the model of the 1960’s Happeing, an event beholden to the conventions of the gallery and the direction of its individual creator. In her essay “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics”, Claire Bishop describes Rirkrit Tiravanija’s dinners as events cicumscribed in advance, using their location as a crutch to differentiate the otherwise ordinary action of eating a meal as art. A better example of the theory of Relational Aesthetics succinctly put into action can be seen in anonymous group activities on the internet, where people form relations and meaning without hierarchy.

Troemel, Brad. Peer Pressure: Essays on the Internet by an Artist on the Internet, Brescia: Link Editions, 2011.