Despite Bourriaud’s protestatations, RA is deeply, achingly, embarrasingly managerial. It is the managerial mode of regard embodied in materials that managers recognise: assets, particularly human assets.
And RA is auratic. Because without the aura of management -uh- art, what differentiates the social and aesthetic incompetence of RA from just actual social and aesthetic incompetence?
Both these qualities can only increase if people need their passports or whatever as part of the beautific images of managerialism that RA give us as works. Managers’ egos will not be deflated by an “art” of ever stronger management of Real People in ever more tighly controlled additions (or revelations) of managerial value (or power) in social situations.
Bishop‘s assessment of British art criticism in the 1990s is depressingly accurate but there is an account of art from that time that gives us something to work with. Julian Stallabrass’s concept of the Urban Pastoral (from “High Art Lite”) is far too close to the bone of RA to leave unused.