Monica
Dănilă




HOW to capture the NOW

/ or thinking about time as a process of accumulating knowledge /


(crossed out words / words written in red are later edits)



This text is here to double the one read in the presentation, how it went through change, a visual piece of the process of researching, editing, writing, thinking. Embracing mistakes, now is a time to be vulnerable. Making edits, now is a time for a change. Illustrating the passage of time, this is the new now.

On a later-later note, while editing the text and trying to understand this complicated train of thought, I realised this could be a rough note on the act of curating information in the context of time. How does curating exist in the passing of time, how does it translate in relationship with time, and how time as a process can be translated into the process of curating?

This piece is a form of creative writing combined with - essay type - letter inspired by Colette and Karoline. It's a form of giving into flow, of letting ideas take the lead.

But I don't believe that would have been of interest for us I believe my research at the moment wouldn't have been of interest for the new now movement, for us, and I also wanted to find another path to get lost on. So I was inspired by Adrian's map, did a bit of research, took my time to search every word and concept, make notes... and then the lectures hit me, and then my colleagues' presentations hit me, and then the discussions we had hit me and, here I am, with a big blob with a pile of words that I tried to give meaning to.

I was also influenced by thinking about time and what NOW is. I believe now is a process, it's an active movement, it's fretting, molecular motion. Time for me doesn't stand still, time passes and I'm losing time and I'm not afraid of that. I'm not scared of wasting time and I'm not trying to steal time, because I'm not afraid of dying – if time passes and I get old and die, it's fine, me and time are still friends still going to collaborate.

I derived a bit from this big topic because I wanted to find something that goes with me and our main interest during this week, which is curating, the new and the now, and I translated that, after all your input putting everything in a blender, into curating information – the digital edition. When I say ”information” I don't differentiate between pieces of information found online, or in books, or on the street, or in bathroom stalls, or on the back of the cereal box. Information is a message, it's knowledge, it's language, it's sound, it's 0101101011.

This interest is connected with me and my thinking  navigating method, which is based on inspired by alternative education, which I am keen on. It comes from my love/hate relationship with the school system and academic learning, that I am questioning at the moment because of the thousands of powerpoint slides I read and learned by heart. My curiosity sits now somewhere else. I believe curating is the best tool for alternative education, it connects, it educates, it interacts. It shouldn't be the main interest, but more like a means through which information (be it visual or not) is delivered or translated.

I think curating information in the digital space for me it's more than the act of archiving or simply preserving data. It's because of the action itself, curating, the intention of care and thought is essential to the process, it adds value to the collection of information. After only a few days of getting comfortable with the concept and letting the idea evolve marinate, I believe this action to me has to do a lot with connecting and finding links and maybe similarities between pieces of information. Like As I said, I think the value sits more in the process of researching and making connections and letting the search guide you and inviting your intuition to make sense, than the value of the actual finished product.

Searching, researching, finding, noting, elaborating, rearranging, deleting, abandoning, getting frustrated, finding the missing piece or giving up, finishing – maybe you are all familiar with this kind of process.

So, why do I think this is a useful and valuable thing to do? Because of the human mind and that our brains are full of neurons and synapses that have individual patterns and paths. We make connections in unique ways, we have different perspectives and different points of views. Imagine all the possibilities in which a piece of information can be understood, translated, stored, connected, forgotten.  Curating content and information feels the natural way, it's a human instinct, connected linked to our desire to select and organize, it's a natural solution to resource abundance. Unless someone verifies The information source has little value if disconnected from other relevant sources in the same information space, it needs organisation and curation. If there is no context, how can information be more than something that occupies space on the digital and in the mind, how can it be used to create?

This is a powerful educational tool that someone can use, where information can be discovered and appreciated, as well as a way to better understand, make sense, explore and comprehend a specific topic, maybe even go further. This is how Adrian's map forced me into this avalanche of knowledge, where I choose chose to embrace the process of getting lost on the paths of information. Some I kept, some didn't mean anything to me some didn't spark interest, some confused me, and some started a revolution in my mind.

The act of curating information is more about creating a context where all the individual pieces are brought to fit together, and with in that relationship to tell a story and make a statement about the world at large. It's holistic, it's Gestalt. The whole says something new when the pieces come together.

So let's explore what finding and hunting for information in the digital now could be...

I see two ways of curating information: the chaotic way and the orderly way. But it all starts with searching. You can go blind and hope for the best, surprise always being guaranteed, or you can go by a system, going by topic and hitting out of the ballpark. I don't think one exists without the other. Let's talk more about the chaotic way, which connects with the idea of getting lost, to explore without a plan, hectic, bezmetic. If the destination is not known, the path unknown, maybe success sits with the search, the exploration, finding, and identifying. Going down the rabbit hole, taking the red pill.

This for me is the act of deep diving the internet, of going into the unknown, which is said to be a detailed examination of a subject, but for me is mainly letting the search take me wherever embracing the direction of the search and letting the my curiosity explore. This mostly means 99.9% useless information, like google map traveling, youtube videos of how a snail gives birth, listening to underground Russian rap, and so on. But there might be a 0.01% that will spark an idea, and lead me down a productive the good path.

The internet is a wild beast and you are the knight brave enough to confront it with patience and meticulosity, or you are like Jonah, finding yourself trapped deep into its belly, searching for repentance and shit.

Maybe after an exhaustive deep dive or more mannered research, you find yourself in a pile of pieces of information and facts and trivia, and you have to give it meaning, context, curate it. There might be subjects you will want to revisit and get to know better, maybe do something more meaningful and concrete.

Now it's time for digital gardening.

Digital gardening, as I beautifully found explained on the web, is like a differently organised blog, where posts are not only displayed chronologically, linearly, but things entries are organized and ordered by better understood by subject or topic, but with a touch of chaos around the edges.

The phrase ”digital garden ” is a metaphor for thinking about writing and creating that focuses less on the resulting piece and more on the process, care, and craft it takes to get there. The garden is the place where things grow, seeds are planted, weeds are killed, branches trimmed. Just like the plants we find in the garden, there are posts in various stages of growth: some might wither and die, and others will flourish and provide a starting point for the gardener or the people that visit. It's a reminder of the value of the process involved in creating a platform to curate information in a more organic and self-forgiving way because unlike the plants that you kill, the information doesn't mind.

You focus on what you want to cultivate over time, the whole point of the digital garden is that they can grow and change and that weird, contradictory, or even absurd pages can coexist. A quote I found on the topic says: It's less about iterative learning and more about public learning. It's ”an open collection of notes, resources, sketches, and explorations. [...] Some notes are Seedlings, some are budding, and some are fully grown Evergreen[s].”

Maybe you've gardened enough, and you want to share, connect and curate that information in a not so chaotic and hectic way even more, on a different kind of platform, where the medium is deeply influenced by the passing of time and the presence of the process is alive.

Now it's time for podcasting.

A digital version of the freely spoken word, I see podcasts as a platform where you can elaborate on a subject more organically and informally naturally than in the confinement of the written word, where grammar and spelling haunt you. Podcasting for me is capturing a conversation between at least two people, an exchange of knowledge, a dialog, a way of connecting with the other. The podcast is a way for information to take form, to exist in the world as sound, to be shared and heard, to enter and transform the mind. Now, and again now, and on repeat, still in the exact same moment. Podcasting is the same fresh capture of wonder, whenever you want it to be, always that now moment.

In my experience with podcasting, not only listening but also creating, I found that the most valuable thing is the moment when new perspectives are born in the context of exchanging information. Saying, hearing, understanding, asking questions, reacting with similar knowledge, arguing, trying to explain your point of view, and finally deciding to be or not to be on the same territory is the process of bringing information from different minds, putting it in a supercollider, and taking out a new element, new subjective perspectives.

The podcast is a now movement of information for people who listen. For me this is also feels like curating in real-time - it takes the mind of the explorer to wonder into a storm of rapid exchange of information, to be open enough to receive something new and to know with what to respond how to challenge it, knowing that all in all, it's about the process of creating a conversation.

The process of finding and working through what information is useful and what is not takes time, but the process of putting things in order makes the time it's bitch.

Maybe curating information in an orderly way can be mapping / mind-mapping - thoughts and ideas and concepts and histories and narratives and borders and families and trails. I think of Lia Perjovschi's elaborate and web-like mind maps trying to illustrate her Knowledge Museum. In the words of the artist „Every reading/rereading of the material (intentional or unintentional) opens new doors, offers me new ideas (like a book which you read multiple times at different points in time and always feels almost completely different). I look for something that I believe the context demands.”

Maybe curating visual information like mood boards, and channeling your inner emo teen to curate a Tumblr page or your inner vanilla blogger to curate a Pinterest page, can be related to a more orderly way...

But this is just a seed in my garden. I'll let time and the next now I decide if it grows or if it dies :)