One of the instigating ideas behind my final project is how much I've curated my own social media accounts. I've deleted 98% of all Facebook posts I've ever made in the past couple of years, and I frequently delete or archive photos from my Instagram feed. Everything is done in a curation frame of mind where the only past self I allow is one that aligns and supports the narrative of my current self. I allow messiness or contradictions, contrary to actual life.
I found the Museum of Random Memories to be a fascinating look into the types of things we remember and the narratives we attach to things like pictures and videos. The museum was actually a collection of academics and artists exploring the way we attach and maintain narratives to even the most mundane of moments. Participants would find a random, senseless image in their camera roll and detail the narrative surrounding the image. These images were of things like food at the supermarket, a parking sign, a book cover--images that would be meaningless when viewed by anybody but the memory-holder and would not be the types of images shared or curated on public-facing social media channels. And, yet, participants were invariably able to attach narratives and explain the reasoning and background for all of the images, allowing the researchers to collect snapshots of everyday life, unfiltered.
The artist Arthur Fields created a Curated Memory project where he examined how the memories we capture through digital means affect the ways we remember and what it is that we remember. Most of the images and videos we take are sent to the cloud, never to be engaged with again. He took actual images he had shared throughout a year and coupled them with location markers, hashtags, and overheard quotes. In other words, he situated his selected and shared images within a created context that he believed helped define his self identity and public presentation.
In all of these examples, it is the idea of curation that is most personally interesting and influential in my own exploration of personal memory. How do we curate our own lives? How do we decide what is worthy of keeping and noting? Can the minor, everyday moments be emblematic for relationships and periods of time, thus evolving beyond the mundane? What do we value in our memories? How do we decide what to share and what to store away as precious? If these prior projects focused on how we can curate and find value in any moment, I want to focus on what happens when we want to curate the curated. What can we do when we want to change our minds about the memories that matter?
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