For your inconvenience

It won’t be easy or effortless or straightforward.

All things worthwhile never are.

To obtain the truly worthwhile there’ll be much that has to be given up and some thing that have to be held on to – at all costs.  But which are which?.

It’s the classic storyline that has captivated us throughout history: the hero who “journeys to a far-off place, gains something valuable and returns.”*

I am here for your inconvenience.

To kind that helps to identify the path that is yours to make and to help you move along it.

(*Philip Pullman, from the introduction to Lionel Davidson’s Kolymsky Heights.)

The rise of curativity

Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.*
(Mary Shelley)

I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.’**
(Joseph Campbell)

As I was reading about curiosity and curation and creativity, the word curativity came to mind.  I googled it and sure enough, it’s a word that’s already been put together, most likely because of the rise of the Internet.

The Internet is probably a good description of the kind of chaos Mary Shelley points to as a context of our creativity.  We’ve had to find some way of navigating everything it is in order to find the valuable amongst the non-descript.

This will be different for different people.  We each are curious in different things.  When we bring these different things together then we begin to imagine what we can build.

Here is movement, and in it we see something of the distinction Joseph Campbell is imagining.  The question, he says, is not what is life? but am I alive?

We may hate made up words – though all words are made up – but we are moving into what may be the most enlivening and most deadening time for the human species to be be alive.

One more thing that makes things really interesting is character.  Character is something that happens when we get creative and is something that shapes our future creativity:

‘Character is formed in the crucible of faithfulness and refined through the gauntlet of perseverance.  Remember the shape of our character is the shape of our future.’^

I take faithfulness to be the habits and disciplines we shape to contain the talents and things our worlds contain.  Character is the best container of all for being curious, curating and creating.

(*Mary Shelley, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: ‘Frankenstein’ author Mary Shelley on Creativity.)
(**From Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(^From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)

The curation of everyone and everything

From the beginning a curator was somewhere between priest and bureaucrat, combining the practical with the otherworldly.  Either way curators had access to and mastery over difficult concealed knowledge.*
(Michael Bhaskar)

Did you suppose there could be only one Supreme?  We affirm there can be unnumbered Supremes, and that one does not counterfeit another … and that men can be good or grand only of their supremacy within them.**
(Walt Whitman)

Michael Bhaskar’s title Curation caught my attention because I’m fascinated by how people and things can be arranged in a multiplicity of ways, not in some manipulating way but making our world the wonderful place it should be, beyond the mindset of scarcity.

Curators take care of things, caring and nurturing, and making things work politically.

Add Edward Deci’s remark about creating the right conditions for one another to create and life gets a lot more interesting:

‘The proper question in not, “how can people motivate others?” but rather, “how can people create the conditions within which others will motivate themselves?“‘^

In 2007, curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Stéphanie Moisdon were responsible for the Lyon Biennial art show and went about it somewhat differently.  They involved a whole lot more people, Bhaskar describing it this way:

‘So effectively what you had is […] curators curating curators curating.  And then given that they all made artists and critics curators, the whole category of curator had been blown wide open.  Everyone was a curator.’*

So it’s been done.

I wonder what might happen if this mindset spilt out beyond the walls of galleries and biennials, that we saw the possibility of helping one another to find the kind of spaces in which each is able to organise the things they love doing with a freedom of creation for a purpose bigger than themselves.

Some say it isn’t possible.

Others might say, it’s neither been attempted nor explored.

(*From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(**From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)
(^From Edward Deci’s Why We Do What We Do.)