Political engagement – to care intimately for and to respond thoughtfully to the way in which our world is being made. To be willing to place yourself, in some part, or maybe all, on the line for what you believe is just and/or right. To be accountable to the circumstances of our reality in action, knowledge, and awareness. Political engagement is to immerse yourself in the past, present, and future given circumstances of place and time. It is an outward evidence of citizenship. In some contexts, a risk or a privilege. Debatably a choice, arguably a duty. Can be performed in resistance to or in support of an issue, event, policy, or person. Can be performed by anyone in a manifold of ways. To be politically engaged is the very opposite of passivity or apathy. It is to have an activated opinion or point of view. It is to be responsible to the changing of times. To be politically engaged, one must believe change is possible and that individual effort matters to the collective movement and culture.
Curating – telling a particular story through the selection and organization of a particular set of things in order to convey a particular meaning. These things may be language, image, object, content. Curation necessarily propagates a particular subjective position. And in this way it can be a lie. In this way, it is always a devised narrative of a singular point of view. To curate is to promote a certain vision of the world, of how something came to be. To curate is to include somethings and not others. It is a position of power; it is the voice of the editor and the narrator. To curate is to sift through materials and create a relationship between the sediment. To identify (or force) patterns between. To reveal (or force) conversations between. And to propose an interpretation or meaning. They are meaning-makers.
Documentation – to record as evidence something witnessed. It is a form of participation from the outside. Requires distance between a thing observed and the observer. This is to say that documenting is an externalizing practice. It is a process of removing yourself from a reality, in order to then replicate it in a different form (through word, art, a camera, etc). Like curators, documenters are inherently a selective crew. It is to the discretion of the documenter that something is included or excluded. Theoretically, however, documentation would be an unbiased, neutral practice – a true account of what has happened. Documentation is an act of memorialization. It is a preservational tool, often combined with research and study. It is also a tool of historicization, as it marks the transformation of any present moment into past event. Is possible through any form or discipline.