Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things
Michel Foucault coined the phrase “care of the self” to describe the ancient art of developing personal excellences through the practice of virtue (plus plenty of hand-to-hand combat).
If care of the self embraces diet, exercise, leg waxing, and the pursuit of philosophy in the bedroom, curating the self involves the strategic display and archiving of intellectual, artistic, social, or domestic projects — in the form of blogs, web pages, e-portfolios, or Facebook profiles. My own web site, Thinking with Shakespeare, is certainly a curatorial performance, where I like to house favorite links, recent lectures, current teaching, and emergent thoughts.
“Care” and “curate” both come from the same Latin root, cura: care, concern, worry. In Roman law, the curator was the grown-up legally responsible for a minor. Only later did the curator become the person overseeing a collection or archive (impressionist paintings, milk glass, vintage condoms).
A well-curated personal website requires both an organized database at the back end and a welcoming front porch, parlor, or gallery for visitors.
Curating the Self: A Modest Manifesto
1. Save everything.
Check out this nice example of the well-curated self assembled by undergraduate Thomas Schumacher. Thomas’ web site has been nominated for “Best Electronic Portfolio” at UC, Irvine this year. (He’s curating his output under the mentorship of Liz Losh.)
Illustration: Pillow Talk by Ellen Lupton, from Design Your Life.— Julia Lupton · 2009-04-01