I wish you could see it
leave your body behind
rise above and find
a place in the back row
seats where no crowd would know
they’d lost you.
I wish that you could sway with them
feel the powers that play on them
microphone wand waves over them
shivering ripples over the room
over to you
you’d shiver too.
And in that instant you would
know how this page
could be inspired by the space
between double doors and a wooden stage.
Because you would see what darkness feels
when rumbled base around it peels
when nimble hands spell out their notes
and swing, and knot, and reel their ropes,
and nets are cast
and hocus poked
and crackled sparks fly firing sound-
- Natasha Ferraro
Its everywhere, this thing called ‘content curation’. Can we just look at that word for a second: Curate. At one time this term was used to describe clergyman, or one who watched over souls. More commonly it refers to one who maintains, preserves, and oversees artifacts or works of art. Recently, as a verb, it has come to describe a pulling together of an online selection of pop-culture news, opinion, fashion - basically anything that an interest group might find entertaining. But in some ways it is as if the its true definition is a combination of all these things: a preservation of the artifacts of our daily lives - the online embodiments of our human demand for immediacy and access. In Julia Hell and Andreas Schonle’sRuins of Modernity, they highlight the idea that something in Ruin signifies to the viewer a sense of origins - a sense of authenticity in the pieces of something that was once whole, but is now worth more as something to be separated, curated. Is this what content curation has come down to? Are these quick headlines our way of preserving our origins, by archiving the old information deep in our ‘past’ pages, while simultaneously accepting constant content, constant contact with ‘interesting’ things. Like Ruins in Reverse, maybe content curation is our way of building up our origins or identity, by constantly and immediately keeping tabs on our present?
In many ways it is wonderful, this Bricollage, this assemblage of culture, interests, passions, dramas. What worries me is that we will become an age of curators, and will lose our originality - our ability to be creators. When the majority of people have something to say, it is in response to something that already exists, like someone looking at the Mona Lisa and reading about what someone else felt about it - are we losing our creative, individual originality? Not the aura of seeing an authentic piece of art, but the aura around an original feeling or thought about it.
Everything is in a constant state of RE: RE-Blog, RE-Post, RE-Pin. The idea of something going ‘viral’ is very fitting here. An illness is caught, consumed, commented on, and cast aside. We are learning more, I think, in having so much access, but how much are we remembering? Taking in? Appreciating?
For Foucault the self’s relationship to the self is all about language, and the essential struggle: how do I create the terms of myself? How do I represent who I am? It would be easy to assume that online profiles such as Facebook and Google+ make an articulation of such reflections easier, as tools specifically designed to compartmentalize who, what, where, when we are. Likewise, as for Foucault, we relate to things and to one another temporally, so features like timelines, news-feeds, inboxes play out the necessity of pin-point-ability; the relief of filling in another’s space in time relative to our own. But are we any closer to revealing the terms of ourselves through these spaces? I don’t think Foucault would think so. In many ways the resolution of our anxiety in articulating the kind of person we are is lost in this temporal space between ourselves and another; these profiles are not about who we are, but a wordification (yes I just made that term up) of comparison: of what we are not, where we have not been, the amount of fun we have had based on how many people ‘liked’ our experience. When we relegate our lives to uploads and updates are we learning how to develop the terms of ourselves, or are we more motivated by the demands for a reaction from those beyond the terms of ourselves?
In Gorgias’s “Encomium of Helen” he makes an appeal to the audience with his words, successfully moving the body through the evocative emotion of language; for the Classics words have power - ‘Truth’ relies on appeals. Do we still have this power with language? When we post an appeal to our peers whose body do we expect to move - Does an ethered ‘thumbs-up’ count?