There is a somatic, haptic or aesthetic modelling going on in dialogical art.

Interviewee: Grant Kester

This is something I tried to address in the One and the Many, where I spent a lot of time in writing about the Dialogue project in central India. I interviewed people, I had conversations—but a lot of my time was spent trying to be aware as possible, on a kind of a phenomenological level, of not just what people said but how they said it, their bodily gestures, the inflections of speech, the haptic experience of the space and the aesthetic organization of the water pumps and temples. What did it mean for the women in the village to actually inhabit the water pump site on a daily basis? How did they relate to other people as they moved through and around it? There is a whole domain of somatic framing going on in this project that isn’t recognized by most people as “art”. But I think it is fundamentally aesthetic in its nature. Because it goes to the question of how the self relates to the other in the world, and how semi-permeable spaces emerge that are both connected to the broader world and also discontinuous with it. That’s really at the core of the aesthetic. So, I think your point is very well taken about these things being aesthetic. It is important to foreground power differences, and that was a key part of my own interpretation, but it is also important to have a very broad understanding of the nature of inter-subjective exchange: verbal, nonverbal, physical, and gestural. It requires close attention to all of these levels to  determine, even partially, what’s taking place when  people sat down in the Wochenklausur boat, or when a villager in central India is using one of Dialogue’s water pumps.

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