Curation and a Temporary Space.

Two good family friends have recently done a remodel of their bungalow style kitchen in Oakland California. It feels like they have been talking about it for years, but unlike some other people I know, the understanding that their old kitchen was eventually going to be re-done did not stop them from living, loving, and finding happiness in the kitchen they already had.

I have just moved into a Victorian share house (roommate situation) from the turn of the Century in the Beach town of St. Kilda and will be moving out to go back to school in mid-february. So, in a sense I am also just about to move out. This has made it difficult for me to make the space my own, feeling like it is just too temporary. Yesterday, I couldn’t take it any more and had to “personalize.” (picture is of the fireplace mantle opposite from my bed).

I am constantly thinking about spaces that make me happy, and how spaces make others happy and I realized that for me, often a happy space, is one that I have owned. I have started thinking about it as curation. Some spaces are spaces that others have curated and others are spaces that I have curated. It doesn’t always mean I have designed the space top to bottom on an endless budget, but that I have made it mine.

My corner of the architecture studio is an example of this. I look out over a table where I have organized my materials and books to a gallery of sculpture studios, at the end of every term I have to completely disassemble my set-up hoping for a prime location the following term.

Th place that I return to in the library at school to study is an example of this. I always turn my chair away from the main part of the building, bring a cozy blanket, and look out the window.

I realized there are spaces I am comfortable curating temporarily, my room in St. Kilda being one of them.

There is something that I have been noticing in the submissions: a sense of familiarity. Maybe you are made happy by a space you have been to repeatedly, or by a space that you have many memories, or by a space that reminds you of another space. Some of these are spaces you “curated,” some are spaces others have curated. Does one make you happier than the other?

Even when I am happy in a space someone else has “curated” I always feel the urge to shift a vas, or change the wall color, or advise the curator on the wattage of their light bulbs. It is in an ownership of space that I feel most happy, even if the ownership is acknowledgedly fleeting.

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3 thoughts on “Curation and a Temporary Space.

  1. Amy says:

    Your post makes me wonder;

    Are we after all, like migratory birds coming to meet on a rare shared branch, only to find ourselves again and again in a wind gust or cool stream? And when we arrive at a new place and make our nest and settle in – are we inclined to look for the familiar twigs that served us well, before we discover the ones we never knew? Blending the familiar and the discovered, the cherished and the challenging, looking for happiness all the while. Finding the illusive happiness often because we paused long enough to create a new relationship to the familiar and the strange, long enough to feel ourselves arriving fully in the present moment of space and time and place.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful questions and reply.
      A curious question, do we look to the familiar before venturing to the new? I noticed myself trying to understand this while looking for objects to have in my space. In my more permanent spaces the size and weight of an object that I find aesthetically pleasing are nearly irrelevant because I am not concerned with transport. However, in browsing for temporary “decorations” I had to direct myself away from heavy sculptures, large images, and mirrors and towards durable and light objects, such as small art books (which was a new way of decorating for me, I had never thought to cut out images from an old book, until I knew I couldn’t transport the full scale print). I guess you could say I was inclined to look for “familiar twigs” but had to acknowledge that my current circumstance didn’t make the familiar way of creating a space particularly practical, and I found a “new” way favorable.

  2. Judy says:

    lovely. A collection of whites and off-whites, it appears to me by the photo. The crisp white of the fireplace and wonderful mantel, the great string of yellow-white lights (what a nice accent!), the creamy-tan walls, the artwork in shades of white, cream, tan…..and then the contrast of the darker books and fireplace opening. Very nice!

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