June 14, 2009

Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire): Joanne Molina of The Curated Object

The Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire) is a Design Feast Initiative. In contrast to the Designer’s Quest(ionnaire), the focus here is on those engaged in the blog medium—why they do it and what tools they use. This fourth installment features Joanne Molina, Editorial Director of The Curated Object, a “non-profit media project interested in the exhibition and display of decorative arts, design and objects and those who find our engagement with them compelling.” Her sustained experience with blogging may help your entrance into the blogosphere or further inform your current work in it:

Why did you create a Website of regular entries?
Well, it’s a bit of a long story. I actually have an academic background. My graduate degree is in philosophy with a specialization in aesthetics. Even though I didn’t pursue a career in academia, education is still very important to me. When I ended up in the publishing world, I realized there wasn’t any online source offering a comprehensive listing of decorative arts and design exhibitions. I thought, why not? It was very important to me that The Curated Object offer something relevant—not just promote what I, personally, consider to be the best new objet du jour.

In terms of thinking about a preference for particular objects, it’s important to remember that Taste is rooted in a complicated socio-historical axis and can’t simply be understood through “timelessness” and “universality.” So, in terms of my project, I wanted to avoid making explicit or even implicit claims about the inherent aesthetic value of an object. I think people are curious and given the opportunity want to explore and have the capability of making their own judgments. Honestly, I want people to go to museums, galleries and other public spaces to think about the “things” that surround them and discuss—it’s that simple.

What Web-based solution did you select and why?
I chose TypePad and also use Go Daddy for my domain because both have superb customer service.

What is your definition of a good blog?
It’s so easy to dismiss the weblog but in my opinion a good blog offers an expertise, service or just a form of creative self-expression and allows one to have a meaningful dialogue not possible with print publications. I have had the amazing fortune of receiving a ton of support and kind words—from museums, curators and design lovers from all over the world. I’ve had the pleasure of assisting museums and galleries in the promotion of their exhibitions and that is a wonderful feeling. We need more public spaces where artists, craftspeople and historians can show the world their genius. To be in their service is humbling.

How do you create content for your blog?
I rely on museums, galleries and any other cultural institutions that have relevant projects and exhibitions. Readers can search by country, city and the opening date for exhibition. As long as it’s design-oriented (this includes graphic design) I am game—so send me your information! I’m always looking for contributors…

How do you stay organized and motivated 
to contribute to your blog?
I’m the first to admit that it takes a lot of time, but what’s motivating me these days is the lack of funding for cultural institutions in the US. I’m also inspired by the generosity of people like Nate who support other bloggers. We all know how the late nights feel. And given the scope of my project I feel like I am always a bit behind.

For those aspiring to make a Website composed 
of regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?
Think about what you really want to accomplish and how your project will impact others—and talk with other bloggers. It’s amazing how connected we are and how people find solace in just one kind comment. After a particularly hard day I had an immediate boost of energy and inspiration when I got a lovely letter from a sweet man in Paris who read my blog and took the time to write a nice note. Also: return the favor!

What is your quest in design?
I don’t think I have a quest insomuch as I have an interest in how art, language, the history of taste, history, beauty, philosophy—and the sordid and amazing lives of objects—all structure our relationships with others. Objects act out all the time and revolt against us, so I think listening carefully might be my quest.

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Image courtesy of Joanne Molina.

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Read more of the Design Feast series Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).

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