Relational Art and Managing Emotions

Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 57
Oral Presentation
Henrik STENBERG , Halmstad University, HALMSTAD, Sweden
One of many intentions in art is to examine and portray emotional processes and the status of the artist and other peoples´ emotions in different situations. The "traditional" artist carried a need to explore personal relationships or to portray emotions in social interaction at a distance. The relational aesthetics that has been of great significance since mid 1990 is oriented towards peoples´ social and emotional experiences in different contexts (Bourriaud). The relational artists´ ambition is to intervene in social situations and to find ways to visualize, communicate and reflect on the social exchanges that occur in these situations. The artist wants to problematize the existing emotional rules that occurs (Hochschild) and explore and process emotions such as hidden shame in Thomas Sheffs sence and thus to contribute to the reshaping of social relations.

 The purpose of this paper is to examine how the relational artist uses his/her artistic skills to intervene in and influence social communities and to understand what happens to the emotions expressed in these coherences. The aim is also to investigate what happens to the artists´ creativity and artistry in an outward relational artistic work. How can the artist establish a constructive relation between his/her artistic identity and the social and emotional involvement in others doing emotional work? The paper also aims to explore how theories of emotion can contribute to an understanding of creativity as a dialectical relationship between individual and collective motivations for art based on symbolic interactionism and micro sociology.
The empirical material for the study is interviews with artists involved in artistic projects in workplaces in Sweden but also the study of non-institutionalized forms of relational aesthetics.