We live in a world that’s set the table. . . quite well. . . to make ourselves over (and over and over) into who we want or think we need to be. Like museum curators who create exhibits for visitors and onlookers, we are constantly revising and tweaking the exhibit known as “me.”
Yesterday, I spoke to youth workers about how social media has fostered this culture of curation. . . we carefully curate ourselves, usually locking ourselves into a created, wishful identity that makes it difficult for us to enter into deep relationships by being who we really are. Our selves slowly become constructed facades. . . lies that we have to maintain. This jeopardizes our relationships by squelching vulnerability and true community.
This morning I read an interesting book excerpt in The Toronto Globe and Mail. It’s from David Balzer’s new book, Curationism. Give the excerpt a read, then think about our social media habits. . . .
How much curatorial work did you do today? You got dressed, perhaps laying out various options in the manner of an installing curator. Perhaps, for lunch, you went to Chipotle, Subway, Teriyaki Experience or one of any number of food chains that now ask you to select ingredients to compose your meal. (Subway got in early on curationism, calling their sandwich-makers “sandwich artists” in an amusing, telling marketing of the artist-curator relationship as parallel to that of the server-customer.) Perhaps you purchased something from an online retailer like Amazon or Everlane, consumer-curatorial work that will result in subsequent e-mails from the retailer suggesting other products you might like. Perhaps you updated your profile on a dating website or app, further streamlining your identity to attract the right people and repel the wrong ones, curatorial work that will also result in further suggestions of who you might like. Perhaps you spent some time on Facebook, organizing a photo album of your latest trip, or updating your cover photo to something cute and clever, an addition to your own digital exhibition of personal and cultural imagery. . . (read the rest here).
Is this really who we’re supposed to be? How does a culture of curation compromise our need to find our identity in Christ? What adjustments do we need to make to keep our kids from falling into this trap?