"Striking a blow"Santiago Sierra's works as examples of an Aesthetic of Encounter
This paper examines the potential of art as a space for intense encounters and investigates the value of (stereotype) images in a period of radical sociopolitical changes. Santiago Sierra's works serve as an example for artistic strategies, aiming at encounters, where traditional lines are crossed. They radically challenge the identities of the actors as well as those of the spectators. Sierra directly couples the production of images with the discrimination of people. The only way out of the work leads through a critical revision of the connections between aesthetics and ethics. The aesthetics of encounter use the experiential space of the artworks for a deep reflection of perceiving and acting. During the confrontation with the others, dialogical processes between people and (stereotype) images are getting started. The basic energies for the formation of subjectivity - discrimination of the others and the desire for them – are set free. This entails repeated changes between the object and the subject position. Caused by the intensity of confrontation, ethical issues arise during the aesthetic experience. In that way, alternative ways of acting in social relations can be tried out within the experiential space of art.