Monday, 27 October 2014

EVERYONE'S A CURATOR

MUSEUM MONDAY

BY CADY MOYER

It’s not just Monday today, it is Museum Monday! What better Monday could there be?
Let’s start the week off right with a little food-for-thought: did you curate this weekend?

Trick question - curate has only recently become a verb, meaning the activities of a curator.

The answer to the trick question is: yes, you probably did curate this weekend. Did you: 
post on Facebook? Make an online photo album or a playlist on YouTube? Pin on Pinterest? These are all acts of collecting things, organizing them in ways that reflect something about us, and then putting them on display. 

On CBC's Q, 'curate' is called a buzzword and that it is used so much that the term ‘curator’ has lost its meaning. Oh the irony. 

Fresh off the presses from Coach House Books, is the new book Curationism: How curating took over the art world and everything else, by Torontonian author and culture critic David Balzer. He asks the question: if we’re all curators, maybe none of us are? 

Now how’s that for your Monday’s food-for-thought?

To help you along, listen to the author himself. Balzer was on Q earlier this month to talk about Curationism. Balzer defines curationism as an accelerated moment of curating an understanding of who we are, in which we impart value to objects and ourselves and perform that value in an anxious way. This act needs to be a performance, otherwise it does not mean anything.

The radio piece is fairly short and easy to listen to:


Cover of David Balzer's book, Curationism,
source: http://canadianart.ca/features/2014/09/02/david-balzer-curationism-excerpt/

After listening, does it make you wonder what the value is of museums and the curator in the museum? Does it help you understand how culture relates to, and frames museums? Will the general public experience a whiplash of consumerist self-curation and go to museums to look for their carefully selected exhibits?

So much to think about!

That interview leads me to reflection upon my museum studies here at the iSchool, where we are devoted to understanding, facilitating, and innovating how information is generated, provided, collected, and of course, curated.

For all you museum studies students reading and listening to this post, I hope that this post and the accompany interview is motivating in these last few days before Fall Reading Week; keep up your hard work.

Museums are vital in the Information Age, and it is their critically thinking and highly skilled professionals who make them meaningful.

That’s all from me today; short and sweet.

Have a marvelously meaningful Monday Musings readers.

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