Relational

This type of aesthetic response is based on human relationships and interaction, rather than on the art itself.  This can include interactions among participants, between the participants and respondents, and/or among the respondents.  There are several good examples of this:

Participants relating to respondents:  Nothing gets a musical performance more exciting than the audience reacting wildly to the performers, who in turn perform even better, which further excites the crowd.  This type of aesthetic experience is the argument for live performance over recorded, as it can only build in a live setting.  However, I have to admit that I react to these two groups reacting when I listen to a recording of a live concert.  Although I wasn’t there as it built, I can still react aesthetically to the interaction of the performers and audience.

Participants relating to participants: Singing in a choir or performing as a group is an incredibly powerful type of aesthetic response.  The total is far greater than the sum of the individual parts, and this is why people join community performing groups – they want to get this experience.

Respondents relating to respondents: With DVD’s and the internet, why do people still go to movies in the theatre?  One answer – they want to experience the event with others.  When the audience laughs, it’s easier to laugh yourself, and maybe you’ll feel it just a little more.  However, even watching TV, if you see a shot of an audience member in tears, or laughing, you to may experience something that is almost a vicarious experience.  When they cry, don’t you feel a little something, too?

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