«“Participation” […] has become a keyword in the artistic and curatorial vocabulary, which evokes a heterogenous field of practices and projects programmatically directed against the passivity of spectatorial experience, the “disinterested” contemplation, the alleged autonomy of art and its institutionalized spaces and, more generally, advanced capitalism’s ways of production and consumption». Starting from these words, taken from the text of the call for papers for the current issue of
Polemos, it is possible to define a precise idealtype of participated art. This article aims at exploring the aesthetic thought contained in the work of Marcel Proust in order to demonstrate that such an idealtype of participated art constitutes an opposition between contemplation and participation which is actually wrong. As Proustian conception of artistic experience suggests, contemplation does precisely require the spectator to commit to an interpretative translational activity aimed at recreating in herself the truth of the work of art. From this new perspective, that is able to include in one notion both the art considered contemplative and the art considered participated, two main distortions will be redesigned and investigated, namely the voyeuristic-exhibitionist one, at the level “of the murdered churches”, and the sadomasochistic one, at the level “of the profaned mothers”. To understand and rectify them allows to come to an idea of art which is active, interested, choral and social.