Curation: The power of selection in a world of excess

Why has ‘curation’ become a buzzword? Once the preserve of museums and galleries, curation is now applied to practically everything.

Music festivals, shops and shopping malls, websites of all kinds, the news, conferences, venture capital portfolios, gala openings, dinner parties, music playlists, vacations, personal identities, fashion shows, and wine lists all claim to be curated.

Friday February 10, @MichaelBhaskar talked at the @NationalGallery on the subject of curation.

Michael is the author of the book Curation: The power of selection in a world of excess and was my favorite travel companion for the last few weeks. The issue that we all face is ‘too much’: too much information, too much goods to choose from, and maybe too much art to admire and stories to listen to. We need help. We need curation!

Even though most of our all our information actually is already curated – online you cannot help but be confronted by a curated offering – and by our own choices and selections of news to read, photos to look at, videos to watch, apps to download or people to follow, there is still need for more.

Michael’s book looks at two symptoms of this abundance: the idea of overload, when too much of a good thing causes problems, and “the creativity myth, our unwavering faith that creativity is always a positive.” He discusses the history of the term curation and looks to define its contemporary use in more detail.

An interesting part of the book is how he explains how the Internet transformed curation and clarifies the impact made by algorithmic models of selection; the changing nature of retail; and then a host of ‘curation effects’ – both positive side effects and principles of curation, how curation not only makes sense of the world but is also is a sound business strategy.

All in all, if you were not able to visit his lecture at the @NationalGallery, check out his book. Recommended!

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