I haven’t been great at keeping up with my blog… But how good was I at keeping up with my yearly resolutions? Let’s find out!
1. Read 60 books. Success! Last year, around this time, when I was writing my resolutions for 2013, I decided that I would have to spend most of the year reading for my Master’s thesis. I’m a fairly fast reader, but I figured that even for me it would be too much to try to keep up with the usual reading goals, considering I had to do research, writing and re-writing. So I lowered my yearly goal to 60 books.
Well, that didn’t work. I actually ended up reading 116 books. Compared to 100 books last year, and 101 the year before, it’s a difference of around 3000 pages.
Non-fiction accounted for almost half of the books I read. Most were about technology (specially games), art, museums and curatorial studies (my thesis’ title was “Play, Games and Gamification in Contemporary Art Museums”). For those wanting to read about these themes, I would recommend Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal, Thinking Contemporary Curating by Terry Smith, and for something a bit different, Hypermodern Times by Gilles Lipovetsky. I also read quite a bit about politics and social issues, which is perhaps a reflection of the difficult times we’re going through. Every time I started reading fiction, my mind would wander back to politics, economics, and other global issues. Standouts include Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky, Cypherpunks by Julian Assange et al, Building Iran by Talinn Grigor, and Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. Still, I did managed to read a few classics and some science fiction books. Some standouts include Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.
2. Get a job. Not done. I did get a wonderful internship at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, thankfully.
3. Brush up on Spanish and French. Success! Kinda… I went to Paris in May and managed to practice my spoken and written French. Then I went to Barcelona to work on my Spanish, but that backfired because I speak Castellano and in Barcelona they speak Catalan. It’s not that they don’t speak Castellano, but their language is a matter of pride to them so I couldn’t find anyone to practice with. Every time I spoke, they answered in English. Oh well. At least I brought a few Spanish books with me.
4. Write my Master’s thesis. Success! And what a relief it was. I finished with distinction, with a grade of 19 out of 20.
5. Visit at least 50 exhibitions. Success! Actually, I visited a lot more than 50. At first I kept a list, but I stopped counting after 30 or so (that was in April). So it turned out to be a very easy resolution to keep.
All in all, 2013 was a year with many great things mixed with some of the most difficult situations I’ve had to deal with. I don’t know whether to feel relief that the year has ended, or afraid for what 2014 might have in store. Socially, politically and economically, things only seem to be getting worse. But you can’t stop the flow of time, and you can’t bury your head in the sand and hope everything turns out for the best.
Photo: Paris, 2013. The view from Sacré Coeur.