As I understand it, relational aesthetics seeks to create art that captures or produces relationships between people. Nicolas Bourriaud defines relational aesthetics as "an attempt to create relationships between people over and above institutionalized relational forms." I see this as attempting to break down the traditional roles of artist and viewer. For example in Tina's presentation, it seems clear that Rirkrit needs the viewer to partake of his meal; interacting with him, the food, the environment, etc. to realize the substance and goal of his project. This is where it gets tricky for me. So many things and people in my life fit this description. Are they all artists? If so, what is the implication of that? Is every act of caring and connection to another human a work of art? What are the standards we use to judge inter-human connection and are there critics that can specialize in determining this? If everyone who connects or creates connections is an artist, what implication does this have for the people who define themselves as professional artists?
Artists' collectives, in contrast to relational aesthetics, seem focused on the process. They are basically groups of artists working together to create art. The art that is created does not necessarily have to be collaborative even if the process of its conception is. An artists' collective could work on a painting, sculpture, or some other object-based work. They could also choose to work on something more conceptual and/or collaborative. They could choose to make a piece that is judged a success using relational aesthetics.