Keeping up with posting and researching has been especially difficult this past week. With a new job and an internship I have a full plate and a lack of much needed energy and strength. That being said, I took a short break from pursuing my thesis in order to acclimate to my new schedule. Now that I’ve got a day off I’m working to catch up on my reading.
The Poetic Museum by Julian Spalding has proven to be a worthwhile purchase. I’ve learned a lot of new terms and new ideas about collections. The biggest lesson I’ve gathered from Spalding is that maybe my once beloved idea of the cabinets of curiosity isn’t the best way to tell a story within a museum setting. Especially not with the type of collaborative curation that I’m interested in illustrating. While I still think c.o.c are uniquely and aesthetically interesting I’m seeing less of a place for the model in my thesis. Spalding states, “Museums need to provide more than curiosities” (pg.75) and also “Authoring a museum in a single period in history limits its capacity to respond to its own age” (pg.57). He is speaking about the many different ways that collections can be used to tell meaningful stories given the right method of display and interpretation. Spalding things that in order for objects to really do this and prove useful in a museum is for them to be more than just items on a shelf.
In this book there is a chapter on looking. Spalding writes, “Collections can only regain their significance in museums if the actual process of looking can become interesting again” (65). After I read this opening sentence I took a moment to think about the way I see things in museums. My attention span is shorter than it was before I was introduced to my smart phone. I miss patience and that genuine feeling of awe I got from museums when I was a child, which is what brought me to where I am today. In order for museums to withhold attention they need to think about ways of seeing. I think that collaborative curation is a way to potentially catch the attention of those that might not otherwise look.