Some thoughts of #posthuman curating
Almost a week ago, I went to an event called ‘Posthuman curating: curating authenticity or the question of content online’ that took place at The Photographers Gallery and that was curated by Magda Tyżlik-Carver. She was the one to take the mic first and gave a little introduction in which she mentioned that the word ‘curating’ has widen so that now everyone is curator. And that’s true. We curate things all the time. In fact, writing is a curatorial process because you need to pick the right words and put it in the right order to make sense. And precisely, for Magda curation itself is a method of making sense. Strangely, because of the way she was describing the curatorial process, ‘Technologic’ started playing in my head (Oliver Sacks, please appear to me and tell me the name of that phenomenon — I haven’t finished reading Musicophilia yet and I don’t want to stop writing only for googling it now, I’m the worst).
Then, Michäel Borras aka Systaime, started his presentation which, in my opinion, was brilliant. Or at least, it seemed brilliant to me because I’ve always wanted to do the exact same thing and so, while I was sitting still watching his performance/video, my ego started jumping all over the place. First, he said that his computer had crashed and all of sudden a video started playing, depicting the so-called crash. In it, tons of pop images appeared and mashed randomly for later starting to glitch.
It was beautiful and so intelligent, plus the sound, wow! It was because of his participation that I realised how much I truly value sound. I wish there could be a video of the presentation available NOW to share with you because with so few words he was able to communicate a lot.
Edition: There is!
Basically, what I could extract from those 15 minutes of his performance is: we’re so immerse on this computer world that we have started to normalise this aesthetics of collage on our daily basis. I mean, look at your computer now. How many programs are you using now? Doesn’t your screen look all messy now? Listen to that Spotify song that’s playing and also, the sound of your surroundings. It’s a looot of information going on. How can we process it, really? And at the same time, CURATE IT ALL. Damn. It’s harsh and so clickable, at the same time.
Later on, Gaia Tedone came to the front and started talking about her experience as a curator for Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini’s #exstrange project, which I suggest you check straight away. The question that she brought to the table was ‘What is left to curate?’. Think about it. We’re innate selectors of stuff: the products we use for cleaning ourselves and our spaces, the clothes we wear (even if it’s only underwear), the literature we read and now, with this multiverse that Internet contains, imagine. We’re immersed in an endless curatorial activity that takes place mainly through our screens. And now, here comes the thing: the online purchasing process. As I said previously, Gaia has curated an (online) exhibition for #exstrange within eBay.
She commissioned three artists (Garrett Lynch, Eva and Franco Mattes and Niko Princen) to upload artworks that would be auctioned and probably, sold. In fact, two of them were sold and also, the special services she published in the platform, curatorial consultancy. According to my understanding, what the whole thing was about was the power of images. Gaia told us that there is a whole series of guidelines for taking a good picture of the products and it seems like we’re only buying that, a good looking image of things, like if our life could be Instagram filtered the whole time — Yeah, right.
The last speaker, Anne-Marie Schleiner wasn’t phisically present but appeared through a non-that-pixeled window from a computer screen. Her talk was equally interesting because she spoke about the experimentation of one’s identity. I wrote down some names of artists she mentioned that have been doing so and that until now, have been successful to remain unknown and of others that have been publicly revealed who they are — not Guerrilla Girls or Banksy were mentioned, promise.
What caught my attention the most was her view on our constant disclosure of ourselves through social media and how it’s so easy to track everything we’ve done by just scrolling down. With this, not only we’re neglecting ourselves in trying to remember (this is me speaking, she didn’t talk about memory) but also, not daring to remain anonymous and play with who we are. This phenomenon of trying to be sooooo real and letting the world knows how unique and genuine we are (our beautiful açai bowl, the n kilometers that we ran 2 minutes ago, our magnificent taste in music and film, our interest in what’s going on in our sh*tty world and obviously, our excellent choice of memes) is what really makes us all a bit fake and even though this hasn’t to do with anonymity, I believe we’ve become really good curators of our virtual image.