The Act of Curating

An introduction

Gabor Suhajda

Not long ago a friend of mine told me about a minor incident in a bookshop. This is one of the best shops here in Budapest, not a big chain, but a real sanctuary for book lovers. He was there browsing books when the shop assistant started to yell at some tourists taking photos of books. Discussing the situation it turned out that the shop assistant was mad because it’s common for people to come in only to take photos and order those books online, for being cheaper, of course. The bookshop’s staff is putting a lot of effort in curating their selection of books, the shop assistant explained, and if people buy these books elsewhere then this work is not compensated in any way, they go bankrupt and another pub or massage salon will open at its place. (And we have enough of those in that area, trust me.) So it got me thinking: this curation is often invisible, still, not just that it adds extra value, for such a place it’s crucial in creating the experience for people dropping by.

In the last few weeks I was thinking about starting a newsletter. My first idea was to write about my artistic endeavours so that those few people interested could follow. But soon I realised that I don’t have many updates about that subject. Usually I do not share much about the process or the ideas behind, only a few occasional glimpses, then rather just post finished artworks on Instagram, not even all of them. 

I’m not a writer either, although I had a personal blog. It was running for 5 years and I updated it a few times a year for another 5, but it’s been 6 years that I ended it – although it’s still online. This blog was never particularly popular and it didn’t turn me into a blogger either, not even an unknown one. No surprise that a thought-journal with surreal, abstract and cryptic posts often without any context attracted only a few loyal friends. Now I prefer keeping these thoughts in the secrecy of my physical journals, so this is not a good direction either.

What I realised, however, is that I like to make recommendations and lists: long playlists on Spotify around a mood, movie recommendations along any common point, or a list of articles and books on topics such as experience design or how technology is inseparable from us humans. The act of curating is what I enjoy, regardless of the audience or the medium, as this is the most accurate way I can communicate what I’m interested in and what I find valuable.

So that’s what I’d like to try here, maybe adding some stories and a few occasional glimpses into my artworks as well.