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The Manchester Museum hermit will be writing his contemplations on a blog

Posted May 27 2009 11:34pm

Do you fancy being a hermit? If so, you may have been tempted to answer the job advert for the UK’s Manchester Museum Hermit.

The museum has just announced that it will employ 43 year-old Ansuman Biswas for 40 days and 40 nights to contemplate a series of objects from the museum’s collection. He will be writing about an object per day and engaging the public in dialogue about it on his blog.

What a fascinating project. Now, if I had seen the job advertised, I would have been very tempted to apply. After all, I am experienced in self-hypnosis, writing and blogging. I have been talking for years about writing as self-hypnosis. I could have written poems about the objects in question and it would have been fascinating research into the object-based model of creativity with which I work.

However, it seems that hermits these days have specific experience and Mr Biswas comes with much previous professional hermitage experience. He has lived in a cave as a hermit for the National Trust and once spent ten days and nights in London living in a cardboard box for an exhibition. With this kind of pedigree, he was selected from over three hundred applicants for the post. He told The Guardian:

“I will be developing a dialogue with the public, drawing attention to certain objects and asking why we care about them - and if we care about them,” he said. “As Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

He will ascend to the Gothic Tower in Manchester Museum on 27 June. I really look forward to reading his blog.

So, if you were to spend 40 days and 40 nights in contemplation, where would you choose to be? What objects might you take with you to contemplate? (Keep your answers clean, please.) Seriously, it is an interesting question, isn’t it?

I would certainly take plenty of notebooks and pens. I think I would be tempted to leave my laptop at home, since I spend so much time on it anyway and I’d like to experience how the internet silence changes things for me. I would choose an inspiring view, if at all possible.

Would I take my usual stock of very dark chocolate? Would I listen to music or simply lose myself in the sounds around me? I think I could be quite content as long as I had pens and paper. How about you?

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