It is significant in this respect Obrist calls his historical precursors mediators rather than curators. (…) the term ‘mediator’ has rather heroic connotations, implying a neutral and resourceful individual who intervenes in an existing conflict situation with high level troubleshooting, in order to restore order. There is a major difference between ‘intermediary’ and ‘mediator’. The intermediary lays low and is not supposed to appear, whereas the mediator’s success is determined in great measure by her public authority in matters where consensus is sought. So why is the curator described as a mediator and not as an intermediary, or better still, why is the curator not seen as an interlocutor, or as one who participates in movements (with all the political implications of that term)?
Fernand Braudel claims that capitalism only succeeds when every thing is ready for it to take over, or just like the middleman who starts operating at the outskirts of the elementary market and inserts hierachies within it. But maybe several middlemen can function as intermediaries for each other and create delays and diversions inside the spheres of circulation? To put it polemically: to start making conflicts instead of solving them, to see how ideas collide rather than creating consensus? Here it is interesting to link to Jaques Rancierè’s notion of ‘in-betweenness’ as political subjectification. Subjectification, he writes
Is the formation of a one that is not a self but is the relation of self to an other… (a) subject is an outsider, or more, an in-between… Political subjectification is the enactment of equality – or the handling of a wrong – by people who are together to the extent that they are between. It is a crossing of identities, relying on a crossing of names: names that link…a being to a nonbeing or a not-yet-being. Jaques Rancierè: “Politics, Identification, and Subjectivication.” October 61 (Summer 1992), new York, p. 60-61
One might argue that to place artist and curators side by side as intermediaries ultimately levels out the difference between the two thereby opening up claims that the curator also is an artist. She probably isn’t, but that is not the point;
Soren Andreasen & Lars Bang Larsen: “ The Middleman: Beginning to talk about mediation”, Curating Subjects, de Appel 2007, p. 28-29