Monday, March 19, 2012
museum of everyday reality or how she got pissy about pinterest
i have what is becoming a love-hate relationship with pinterest. i love that i can use it to find things again, rather than bookmarking 10,000 pages in my browser. i hate that everyone is up in arms over the terms. i love it visually - it just pleases my eye to open the page. i hate when random strangers categorize my boards. i love how it helps me see trends in my own taste and thinking and just generally gives me a big picture, holistic overview of what i want (e.g. with regard to the new kitchen). i hate all of the pretentiousness in the descriptions people write for their pins. here are just a couple from last evening:
~ people referring to salt as "artisan sea salt". what, have they painted little pictures on the salt flakes? (if so, i want to pin that!)
~ a reference to "butter and other primal fats" as ideal to serve on your fiddleheads. now i am as interested in foraging and found food as anyone and intend to learn more and eat a whole lot more of it this year, but really, do we have to be so PRETENTIOUS about it?
and this whole curation movement - pinners as curators. that just strikes me as so, to use the word again...pretentious. i was rather disgusted by all of this last evening and so i picked up dubravka ugresic's museum of unconditional surrender to take my mind off of it. sometimes, you just pick up exactly the right thing to read at the moment you need to read it.
i opened to a page where dubravka wrote about ilya kabakov, a russian artist who illustrated children's books for status as a "legitimate artist" during the soviet years, but who lives today in new york and is known as "an archaeologist of the everyday," in the tradition of kurt schwitters, robert rauschenberg and others. he gathers the detritus and everyday bits and pieces of trash, classifies them and makes them into art in order to make sense of reality. dubravka quotes the novel of a forgotten russian avant-garde writer, konstantin vaginov, "classification is one of the most creative activities. essentially, classification shapes the world. without classification there would be no memory. without classification it would be impossible to imagine reality." she characterizes kabakov as a descendent of this russian avant-garde tradition and describes his work, saying "the material of bureaucratized everyday life transposed on to magnified boards obliges the observer/reader to read into it his own meaning." and it hit me that it's what we're doing with pinterest.
this obsessive collecting and classification is quite possibly our attempt to find some kind of pattern, sense and meaning in a world that seems increasingly to have gone mad. of course, that mad world cannot help but impose itself on the classifications all the time in the form of pretentions designed to set us apart from the mundane everyday, and so we work against that which we ourselves construct. we want to find our own outlook of the world, our own conception of beauty, our own visual language with which to express our everyday. beautifully photographed. categorized. labeled. curated. one giant inspiration board in which we ultimately reveal the underlying kitsch of everyday reality. endlessly repinned and replicated.