Collecting

Imbolc                                                                       Valentine Moon

Tumblr.  Addictive in a sense I don’t fully understand yet.  I’ve selected bloggers on Tumblr, largely where folks post images of one sort or another, who present art.  Over 100 of them at last count.  At any one time only a handful might be posting, so keeping up, or at least staying roughly abreast is doable.  The range of images that folks select is wide, one of  the charms of Tumblr for me, a chance to both get inside people’s heads as they choose images to post and an opportunity to see art that I wouldn’t have found on my own.  In that sense it’s a very eclectic museum.

(folder: architecture)

The addictive part for me is that I’m saving images, image after image, in those files I talked about reorganizing a while back.  Many, many art folders:  art contemporary, art Russia, art Symbolist, artist Blake, artist Matisse.  Cinema and television.  Natural world.  Cities.  War.  Travel.  So on.

Like a squirrel delighted with finding an abundance of acorns, I pluck these images up in my digital cheeks and carry them over to the small holes I’ve dug in my hard drives memory to cache them.  The folders have begun to grow fat with image after image.  Perhaps a hundred images or more in some instances.

(folder, art photography.  the pope’s apartment the night before his announcement about his retirement.)

My question is, why am I doing this?  Part of it is a desire to see again striking images or historically significant images or funny images or moving images.  That’s true, but mostly, like the squirrel, I dig the hole, then go on to dig another hole, often forgetting the one I dug before.  This is what oak trees count on.  How oak forests grow.  Of course, I know where all my folders are and I can open them whenever I want, but my point is that I’m more engaged in stuffing them full than utilizing them.

Utilizing them for what?  My first approach to answering this question will come on Thursday when I start reading the catalog for the Pre-Raphaelite show at the National Gallery.  I have a folder filled with Pre-Raphaelite art and will find images, I imagine, of most of the pieces in the show.  Perhaps I’ll curate them myself, re-organize them in different ways, trying to emphasize different aspects of this 19c phenomenon.  Perhaps I’ll use the images for comparison, for tracing the history of certain themes and techniques.  Or, I might just open the folder and look at them, one after the other, taking in their color, their subject matter.

(folder History England.  a 1920 poster for the tube.)

This is an activity only possible with the internet and large hard drives.  And a lot of time.  It feels important; that’s why I’m writing about it.  But why?  No idea.

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