Politics of Boredom
ASCA/NICA Workshop organized by Aylin Kuryel, Adam Gisborne, Helen Weeres. Confirmed keynote speakers: Mieke Bal (University of Amsterdam) and Michael E. Gardiner (University of Western Ontario).
The white suburban middle class housewives of the 50’s and 60’s, confined to the home, were overcome with a strong sense of boredom. The punk youth of the 70’s, with no prospect on a future, but with a fiery desire to reject, shouted “London’s burning with boredom” in unision with the Clash song. In the 2000s, the Apple factory claimed that the workers in China committed suicide “out of boredom”, even though their working conditions were “just fine.” The phones produced by these workers began to be considered the remedy eliminating boredom in their users. Boredom is a pervasive experience and theories about its causes and symptoms are as numerous as they are diverse.
In psychology, for instance, boredom has often been seen as resulting from a lack of stimuli and being stuck in routines, as a case that can be “treated” scientifically. It has been studied in various contexts, including the home, the factory, the university and the military. In philosophy and sociology, boredom is associated, at times, with depression, loneliness, and lack of inspiration. At other times, it is associated with artistic creativity or the will to venture out into new experiences and practices. Furthermore, boredom has been widely discussed as a defining feature of modernity and the modern urban experience, no longer confined to the lives of the rich with their abundance of leisure time. More recently, boredom has been revisited as one of the manifestations of marginalization and precarization in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Such diverse interpretations reveal the productivity and versatility of boredom as a conceptual framework to unpack social critique. The workshop Politics of Boredom attempts to approach boredom as a travelling concept across different fields and contexts, aiming for an interdisciplinary analysis including media, feminist and literary studies, and affect and political theory. One of the aims of this workshop is to explore the cultural, political and affective environments that boredom is situated in and distributed accordingly. Another goal is to ask whether boredom may also trigger reorganizations of everyday life: Can it work as a collective force for creativity? Can it be an affective entry point to build new political subjectivities?
Politics of Boredom Workshop Program
Wednesday, 19 September
16:00-18:00 Opening of the exhibition (Corridor Project Space)
Thursday, 20 September
10:00 Welcoming coffee + speech (University Theater)
10:30-12:00 Keynote (University Theater)
Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Boredom and Emotional Capitalism: a Cure or a Lure?
12:00-13:00 Lunch Break
13:30-15:00 Panel 1: Historicizing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)
Yewon Hong (University of Amsterdam), The End of Boredom: Introducing Fun in Work Spaces in South Korea
Katy Lawn (University of London), Art/Work: How Can Modern Art Help Us Theorise the Experience of Boredom at Work
Alper Turan (Sabancı University), Bored as Gay: Notes on Michael Stamm's Paintings
15:00-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-17:00 Panel 2: Collectivizing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)
Begüm Özden Fırat (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University), After the Event: We are Bored
Jeff Diamanti (University of Amsterdam), Farewell to Boring Weather: On Heliotropic Pleasure, Adorno’s Tan Lines, and Rise of the Climate Industry
Sophie Behal, Isadora Epstein, Eoghan McIntyre, Maeve Lynch, Rosie O’Reilly and Benjamin Stafford, Bureaucratic Aesthetics: Art and Boredom
Friday, 21 September
10:30-11:30 Keynote (University Theater)
Michael E. Gardiner, University of Western Ontario, A Tale of Two ‘68s: The ‘Politics of Boredom’ in France and Italy”
12:00-13:00 Lunch Break
13:30-15:00 Panel 3: Writing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)
Simon Nagy (University of St Andrews), Walter Benjamin’s Subversive Boredom in Kenneth Goldsmith’s Capital
Marta Koronkiewicz & Paweł Kaczmarski (University of Wrocław), A Strange City: Poetry and the Politics of Idleness
Oytun Elaçmaz (Sabancı University), The Search that Never Ends: Expressions of Boredom in Yusuf Atılgan’s Aylak Adam
15:00-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-17:00 Panel 4: Experiencing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)
Salomé Burstein, The Silk and the Screen: Spectatorships of Boredom in Andy Warhol’s Early Movies
Sebastian Cordes, Performative presentation: It's all right there on the surface – an ode to surface and boredom
belit sağ & Angela Jerardi, Performance: She said, take your time, he said, save my time, they said, paste her time
17:00-18:00 Coffee + snacks
18:00-19:00 Student-led round table discussion (Corridor Project Space)
On the Boredom of Student Life
* Panels are only for the participants. Everyone is welcome to join the keynote talks and visit the exhibition.
* Politics of Boredom exhibition will take place at Corridor Project Space and can be visited between 19-23 September (19th: 4pm - 6pm, 20th:10am - 1pm, 21th:10am - 1pm and 22th: 12-6pm)
Participating Artists: Artikisler Collective, Chai Vivan, Fırat Yücel, Matias Daporta, Mieke Bal, Raşel Meseri, Sanne Karssenberg, Sebastian Cordes
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18, 1012 CP Amsterdam
Corridor Project Space
Veemkade 574, 1019BL, Amsterdam