Geng Yiwei Explores the Impact of Relational Aesthetics in Art Festivals

The concept of the "public sphere" was proposed by the German sociologist Jürgen Habermas and later evolved into the term "public space performance" in the art world. Public space performances must play the role of the public sphere, intervening in the social relationships reflected in the space, and transforming neutral public space into space where the public can express their attitude on public issues.

Drawing inspiration from abroad, many art festivals have embraced the concept of relational aesthetics. The focus of these works is not just to create popular selfie spots but to develop mechanisms to change the relationship between people.

So, how does art transform public spaces into public spheres?

The combination of the initiative of the installation and the initiative of the human allows the power of transformation to diffuse. As a result, art events with a relational aesthetics approach in public spaces usually combine performance and installations. For instance, the work "Dominoes" by the British theater company Station House Opera allows people from all over the city to participate in outdoor and indoor domino performances, altering the city's original spatial experience. Another example is the performance "Remote Taipei" by Rimini Protokoll who once performed at the Taipei Arts Festival, which invited audiences to roam the city and respond to current social issues through the choice-based instructions provided via earphones.

These temporary public space performances carry a festive atmosphere which can respond to current social issues and sentiments, renewing themselves every year. This approach may be more effective in fulfilling the role that art should play than static public art installations that are often overlooked by passers-by in the end.

Without the transformative power of events, artworks in public spaces becomes nothing more than a tourist attraction. However, art should not be reduced to a mere check-in attraction. This is something that every artist creating in public space should keep asking themselves.

Geng Yiwei Explores the Impact of Relational Aesthetics in Art Festivals

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