Keri Smith in her book ‘How to be an Explorer of the World’ uses the term ‘Portable Life Museum’ to describe the ‘cabinet of curios’ (the experiences, memories, and strategies) we carry with us that can be used to enrich our daily lives.
She says of the book:
“I am interested in the idea of taking art (or museum shows/collections) out of the realm of ‘institution’ and into the hands of the individual, one does not need a formal space to put things in, in order for it to be valid. A museum is what YOU make it. You decide what goes in it, what is interesting, why it is interesting, how it could be displayed. It gives the reader permission to create their own portable (or not portable) show. It doesn’t have to be a public show either, it could just be your own private collections of whatever YOU find interesting. Think of it as a kind of “Sim Museum”, except in the real world. The book begins with ideas about what and how to collect things you find in the world (found objects, thoughts, ideas, stories, things from nature, etc.), a section on various ways of displaying the things you collect, and how to set up a showing.” Keri Smith
It was reading the ‘How to Be an Explorer’ list and then coming across the following quote from Hilary Mantel:
‘If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise: whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” Hilary Mantel writing inThe Guradian 25.02.2010
that urged me up from behind my desk and the grumpy mood I’d settled in to, and took me back out to the Urban Pond, to take a look at how it’d faired over the Winter months.
A few minutes, that’s all it was, a few minutes, but it proved to be an invaluably healing time. These were moments well spent. Time in which to simply savour the sounds and sights that presented themselves. The Urban Pond isn’t pretty, it’s not a hugely aesthetic space, being crowded by buildings on all sides, but that doesn’t stop it be a vital space, a place for well-being and connection with a wilder world on our doorstep.
I can’t wait for my next visit.