"There is the distance between artist and spectator, but there is also the distance inherent in the performance itself, in so far as it subsists, as a spectacle, an autonomous thing, between the idea of the artist and the sensation or comprehension of the spectator…It is not the transmission of the artist’s knowledge or inspiration to the spectator. It is the third thing that is owned by no one, whose meaning is owned by no one, but which subsists between them, excluding any uniform transmission, any identity of cause and effect."
Jaques Rancière, The Emancipated Spectator, p56.
Jacques Rancière’s book “The Emancipated Spectator” was, by far, my favorite work. I finished it once and wanted to continuously re-read it. Although it was in the context of drama and theatre, every point made could easily be applied to a larger scale. We have studied other works since reading Rancière, but I believe it was the second anchor for the course. Deleuze set the baseline, but Rancière was the conclusion. Every work we studied can be tied to either one of these pieces of literature. Especially because we began to examine the role of the spectator in relation to the construction of a person, I thought it was fitting to end with a Rancière quote. After much discussion about the relationship between artist and spectator, we are reminded of a third element. The event can easily get lost in the chaos and complexity of humanity, but the event is what prompts the reactions of the spectators to the work of the artist. In the end, the importance of an active spectator or a self-aware artist is pushed aside; it comes back to the importance of the third party that dictates the behavior of the first two: the event.