Cura, the Curatorial and Paradoxes of Care

McKeon, Ed (2023) Cura, the Curatorial and Paradoxes of Care. Performance Research, 27 (6-7). pp. 174-182. ISSN 1352-8165

Cura the Curatorial and Paradoxes of Care.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (527kB)


Drawing on the classical myth of the goddess Cura, I show that care is concerned with the temporality of Being, a feeling for time in tension between the desire for a world that endures despite our mortality whilst also constantly open to our innate capacity for originality. I elaborate this proposition through its intimate and ambivalent relationship with its counterpart, security, and especially through the topos of the curator. The latter’s deployment and simplifications through time, implicitly tasked with removing worries and cares, disavow the paradoxes that comprise its morphology. From its emergence with the Roman Empire, I attend to its resonances within the curacy of the Catholic Church, its transformation with the Reformation and the natural theology of early modern science, its transference to the museum as one responsible for preserving and generating historical understanding, and its more recent re-fashioning as a technique for producing and performing self-identity through selection. The current ubiquity of curation beyond the museum and gallery can be understood, I suggest, not as an aberration but perhaps as a symptom of our temporal malaise, the pathology and felt exhaustion of a stalled project of modernity for which we have been repeatedly told ‘there is no alternative’. I conclude by briefly considering some of the implications of accepting the complexities of care and curation for affecting temporal experience without reproducing the logic that sustains our current impasse.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
1 July 2023Accepted
18 July 2023Published Online
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2023 13:23
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 13:23

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...