Unreal Nature

June 18, 2018

Creation Is All About Mediators

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:41 am

“… I need my mediators to express myself and they’d never express themselves without me …”

Continuing through The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) by Paul O’Neill (2012):

… there were many actors and actions at play in the construction of art and its exhibition value. The sudden visibility of the curatorial hand made differentiation between the author of the work and the independent curator increasingly complicated.

… There were many exhibition moments in which the artwork (that which is made for presentation by an artist), the curatorial structure (the principal organizational framework for which this artwork is made), the techniques of mediation (the methods employed to communicate the work beyond the exhibition form), and the exhibition format (the type of presentation in which these relations are made manifest to a public) collapsed into one another.

… Change in what constituted the “mediator” proposed that the curator was a proactive agent in the communication chain (artist as sender, curator as mediator, viewer as receiver). The curator was primarily responsible for the production of the means (exhibition formats) through which forms of information (artworks, curatorial ideas) were mobilized. As Gilles Deleuze envisaged, creativity is a movement or flow that necessitates a mediator to keep things open and alive as part of an active communication network:

Creation is all about mediators. Without them nothing happens. They can be people — for a philosopher, artists or scientists; for a scientist, philosophers or artists — but things too, even plants or animals. … Whether they are real or imaginary, animate or inanimate, you have to form your mediators. It’s a series. If you’re not in some series, even a completely imaginary one, you’re lost. I need my mediators to express myself and they’d never express themselves without me: you’re always working in a group, even when you seem to be on your own.

[ … ]

… [To one Szeemann-curated exhibition] artists objected to being exhibited in thematic classification without their permission.

… What was at issue in this moment of antagonism was the power to shape the public appearance of art.

The idea of an art exhibition as a “curated” space made it apparent that there was a remit operating beyond the interests of the artists, which occasionally closed down art’s semiautonomous function or opened it up to new alignments. This provided a space of critical contestation that extended beyond a centralized critique of works of art — which, ironically, increasingly concerned themselves with mediation and the language of mediation as already outlined — and began to address the curated exhibition as its own entity, as an object of critique.

My most recent previous post from O’Neill’s book is here.

-Julie

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