Preserve or Fade
I'm considering ephemeral materials for my own art making, creating work that is more about the process than the product. Today, I found these articles that are concerned with museum collections and minimalist living. Engaging Museums, and Future of Museums. Their comments concerning preservation peaked my interest and had me asking myself a few questions about art and what we leave behind.
Both articles reference the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I have not read this book but the authors of the articles describe it as a guide to clearing the clutter from our lives. It suggests removing personal items from your home that do not serve a specific purpose or "Spark Joy" for you.
The authors of the articles voice some concerns about what the widespread adaptation of these minimalist philosophy could mean for the preservation of our culture for future generations. If we experience a rise in the number of people eagerly discarding stuff that doesn’t “spark joy,” she asks, what does that mean for future historians, archivists? As Greil notes, “Museums rely on the mild hoarders of the world. [Kondo’s] book could be the downfall of future museums!” - Future of Museums.
They also argue that if all of our book preferences, photos, and artwork are kept digitally then what will be preserved? Who will own that content? How can memories and stories continue when the person who experienced it passes on?
These articles had me asking: Why shouldn't individuals have the right to play "curator" for themselves? Why we can't decide how our generation is remembered by choosing to surround ourselves with items that "spark joy" in our hearts? Is it necessary to preserve artifacts that remind us of negative stories we'd rather forget? Is it the artifact or the stories that are more important for the archivist/curator?
How important is living in the moment and memories in viewing and discussing artwork? It was helpful to read about these topics from a different perspective before applying them to my artwork. I recommend you read them and check out these great artworks by Nathalie Lecroc where she documents the contents of women's purses.