As part of his Blackboard project Dawdle, curator and SPACE studio tenant Gareth Bell-Jones programmed a special event exploring the history, philosophy and psychology of boredom.
Saturday 1st Dec 2012, from 6pm.
Free to attend. A bar and music followed the talks.
Taking as a starting point the premise that boredom is a necessary, yet debilitating experience accompanying the creative process, four speakers present their varied approaches to this experience at once mundane to the point of disregard yet universal and so difficult to characterise.
6pm Introduction by Gareth Bell-Jones
6.10pm Rasmus Johnsen - Fed Up With Nothing: Boredom and the Reality of Time
Johnsen will examine boredom from a philosophical and historical perspective, taking us from the Greek actomai (being fed up) and acedia, found among the monks of the middle ages, to ennui as the modern version. Presenting his ideas on 'lack of intentionality' - the inability to find directness in time - he will discuss boredom as an active emotion, rather as than the passive emotion we somehow view it as. Using examples from art and literature he will present the potential of boredom as at once destructive and productive.
Rasmus Johnsen is a professor in Management, Politics, and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School.
7pm Anthony Morgan - Boredom, Autonomy and Self-Transformation
'The Enlightenment's metaphysical embrace of the autonomous individual leads not just to a boring life. It leads almost inevitably to a nearly unlivable one'. Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly
In his talk Morgan will explore the links between boredom and depression as a challenge of autonomy. Looking to Nietzsche and Foucault as two philosophers who pushed the autonomy ideal to its limits, Morgan will ask to what extent their project is still relevant? Is the kind of autonomy they sought merely for the gods? And if so, how might we come to celebrate heteronomy as a basic requirement of a non-boring existence?
Anthony Morgan is a lecturer in the history and philosophy of psychology at Northumbria University.
7.30pm Matthew Clements - Boring beyond the Human
Clements will present a talk on boredom in non-humans. Using both toys for pets and psychological tests on animals as examples he will dispute Heidegger's claim that only human Dasein is capable of boredom. Clements will then go on to introduce aspects of his research into biological processes of thought and in-habitation and consider boredom in connection with other kinds of objects, in terms of prosthetics of affect.
Matthew Clements is currently completing a research PhD in bio-semiotics at Birkbeck.
8pm Cally Spooner - Collapsing in Parts
Presenting an excerpt from her most recent video work Collapsing in Parts, Cally Spooner will discuss the making of and viewing experience of the work. She will go on to discuss the idea of non-arrival and indeterminacy in relation to liveness, asking where not-knowing and boredom might fit together and how this could be a mode of resistance
to the performance promise.
Cally Spooner is an artist based in London represented by MOT International. Collapsing in Parts was commissioned by International Project Space, Birmingham.
8.30pm Round Table discussion
8.45 Drinks and a selection of music about being bored
Gareth Bell-Jones is a curator and writer based in London and Cambridge. He currently works as Artists and Programmes Curator at Wysing Arts Centre.