1st Edition

Curation in the Age of Platform Capitalism The Value of Selection, Narration, and Expertise in New Media Cultures

By Panos Kompatsiaris Copyright 2024
    176 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book employs the figure of curation—the selection, arrangement, and display of objects, concepts, and things—to explore the cultures of platform capitalism. Considering its rise in the global art world as an authorial, meaning-making activity and an organizational-entrepreneurial endeavour, it looks at curation as the interweaving of innovative concepts, elaborate storytelling, and trusted experts leaking out from galleries to hashtags.

    Its logic encompasses diverse spheres ranging from high-brow art and the fashion world to low-brow experience economies and economies of authenticity, from confidence cultures and relationship gurus to algorithmic spectacles. More than an economy, “curate and be curated” is a diffused imperative amidst the disorienting spread of information that digital platforms enable: What to post, what to wear, what to eat, what friends to have, what music to hear, what films to watch, what places to visit, what socks to choose, and what opinion to have about serious issues like climate change, military coups, AI, genetics, space colonization, and cryonics, or everyday issues like football, fashion, and diet. Drawing on critical platform theory, material culture, and multi-sited ethnography, the book examines curated worlds of coolness, authenticity, and inspiration, including the luxury fashion brands Vetements and Balenciaga, Airbnb food experiences, and the figure of the life coach. The book argues that the curatorial imperative endorses an aspirational class imaginary and the idea that handling self-narratives is a strategic means of socialization that can assist upward mobilities as well as neoliberal narratives of well-being, promotion, and success.

    This book will be of key interest to academics, researchers, and advanced undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of cultural studies, media studies, communication studies, curating, contemporary art theory, critical management studies, and art history, as well as to more general readers interested in new media, platforms, and digital culture.


    Chapter 1. Introducing the Curatorial Imperative 

    Chapter 2. From Galleries to Hashtags: The Aspirational Imaginary of Curating 

    Chapter 3. Curating and Platforms


    Chapter 4. Cool is in the Air: Atmospheres of Banal Luxury in Digital Warhol Economies

    Chapter 5. The Babushka–Nonna Experience: Curated Authenticities and the Aspirational Gastronomical Imaginary 

    Chapter 6: “A Person Without Vision will Perish”: Curating Mindsets, Micro-celebrities, and Intimacies in Life Coaching

    Chapter 7. Who to be, How to Appear, and What to Consume: Concluding Thoughts


    Panos Kompatsiaris is an associate professor in cultural and media theory at the HSE University and a research fellow in media sociology in IULM. He earned his PhD in art theory from the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of the Politics of Contemporary Art Biennials (2017) and co-editor of collections on art, media, and cultural politics. He has been a guest lecturer in Franklin University, Athens School of Fine Arts, University of Edinburgh, and University of Copenhagen, among others.