The rapidly changing practice of personal curation only serves to highlight how difficult the job of museum curators is. The British Museum has over seven million objects in its collection, but only a fraction can be selected for display, and each of those needs to be carefully presented and explained according to a coherent story that attempts to explain or highlight a message. That’s why A History of the World in 100 Objects was so popular – because it was so exquisitely curated. Another impressive feat was accomplished by the Museum of Modern Art last moment when it opened its newest exhibition, Talk to Me. Unlike its other collections of objects, Talk to Me includes dozens of purely digital objects – websites, games, designs, stories – all narrowed down from a near-unlimited number online to a small enough selection for visitors to comprehend.
But we don’t have two years; we barely have two minutes to curate ourselves every day, and even then we can’t control what photos and videos and blog posts we might be tagged in. The firehose of media that expresses our lives online is only growing stronger, and our ability to control it becoming weaker. Soon, we’ll all have to contend with rawer, more unedited depictions of ourselves being seen by potentially billions.
Either we’ll learn to get over it and become more accepting of others quirks, flaws, and foibles and hope that they will do us the same favour in turn – or we’ll have to figure out a way of shutting off that firehose, Facebook and Google be damned.