[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre-: Boredom: Labor, Use and Time

Emilie St Hilaire esthilai at ualberta.ca
Mon May 11 05:03:08 AEST 2015

Greetings! Thanks, Renate, for inviting me into the soft-skinned space.

In my intermedia based artistic practice I'm interested in the temporal
shifting that occurs through technological tools and how an embodied
phenomenological experience can counter the habits cultivated through
distraction culture. I build installations featuring screens and projected
video to create dark meditative spaces that encourage viewers to consider
the subtle aspects of digital technology such as the quality of light and
the mental state induced when engaging with screens and mobile devices.
This month's discussion topic has led me to consider boredom as resistance
to the always-on, click-baited mental state that I examine personally
through meditation and publicly through artistic production.

In their introduction to the edited collection _Essays on Boredom and
Modernity_ Barbara Dalle Pezze and Carlo Salzani give an etymological
history of boredom and list several publications on the topic. They
describe the modern subject as being bombarded by new stimuli due to
urbanisation, modernisation, and mechanisation which altered the
traditional parameters of experience. Consequently, "These stimuli become
the only possible filling for empty meaningless time, a desire which is
always renewed and never fulfilled." (13)

Boredom, malaise, ennui, disenchantment, acedia, and melancholy have
described at various times what was initially considered a moral failing
prior to the eighteenth century, but became known as a physiological malady
under the influence of the humanist naturalist perspective. Given the
increased quantity of stimuli and the accessibility afforded by mobile
devices, detachment from media streams may indeed bring about boredom but
whereas the phenomenon of boredom was known as the malaise of the
nineteenth century, I think anxiety more accurately describes the malady of
the twenty-first.

I wish to propose boredom as a form of resistance against distraction
culture. I am engaging in "Radical Acts of Boredom" in which I force myself
to remain as "bored" as possible, ideally for longer than what is
comfortable. The inactivity may become meditative, pleasant or unbearable
but sustaining the monotony of the moment is an exercise with potential
temporal, psychological and physiological consequences. It turns out the
concept of "radical boredom" was investigated by the critical theorist
Siegfried Kracauer in his essays on boredom from his 1963 book _The Mass
Ornament_. I will move forward with my planned hashtag but here is an
excerpt from Kracauer's essay _Boredom_ for further inspiration.

"On a sunny afternoon when everyone is outside, one would do best to hang
about in the train station or, better yet, stay at home, draw the curtains,
and surrender oneself to one's boredom on the sofa. Shrouded in tristezza,
one flirts with ideas that even become quite respectable in the process,
and one considers various projects that, for no reason, pretend to be
serious. Eventually one becomes content to do nothing more than be with
oneself, without knowing what one actually should be doing--sympathetically
touched by the mere glass grasshopper on the tabletop that cannot jump
because it is made of glass and by the silliness of a little cactus plant
that thinks nothing of its own whimsicality. Frivolous, like these
decorative creations, one harbors only an inner restlessness without a
goal, a longing that is pushed aside, and a weariness with that which
exists without really being." (334)

I invite you to perform your own #RadicalActOfBoredom.

- Emilie St.Hilaire
Twitter: @Emiliest

On Sun, May 10, 2015 at 9:39 AM, Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Welcome to Emilie St. Hilaire and Lyn Goeringiner for agreeing to be our
> guests for Week 2 on -empyre:  Boredom:  Labor, Use and Time.  We are
> looking forward to having them both comment on  their own work and
> reflections in relationship to our topic.  I¹m sitting out on my porch
> today where the sun is shining, the trees are in full bloom writing this
> introduction thinking about boredom.
> Emilie St.Hilaire (CA) is an intermedia artist and recent MFA graduate
> working with video and
> installation to invite meditative encounters in which to re/consider
> technology. Through the use of dark spaces lit by glowing screens and
> subtle projections
> Emilie's work creates space between the virtual and the real, the natural
> and the artificial, light and dark. Emilie has also worked on
> site-specific projects involving interactive installation and live-feed
> video. Originally from the francophone community of St-Boniface, in
> Winnipeg, Emilie will be joining the interdisciplinary Humanities Doctoral
> Program at Concordia University, in Montreal, in the fall of 2015.
> Lyn Goeringer is an intermedia artist, performer, and independent scholar.
> Her research focuses on intermedia and interactive approaches to public
> space and site-specific art practices with a particular focus on the
> experience of the body in space. At the center of this research are
> questions about how we as individuals create and navigate space, and the
> ways in which larger government infrastructures influence how we navigate
> public and private spheres. These questions driver her artistic practice
> and
> led her to work within a variety of media, including body-centered
> cybernetic performance art that explores notions of privacy, wearable
> controllers, audio walks and public sound art. As an extension of her
> research in liminality within the Everyday, Goeringer also works with and
> incorporate notions of play within labor practices into art and sound
> composition especially within the context oflabor disruption, and was
> invited to participate in the Cleveland Performance Art Festival in 2013
> as a part of the ENACT exhibition. Curated by Anne Torke
> and Nanette Yannuzzi. For this festival, she contributed a sound
> performance piece for six performers titled OEbi-product of labor¹.  This
> performance is part of a larger ongoing series of pieces the OEbi-product¹
> of labor, which seeks to explore, catalog, and present the ways in which
> we subvert labor practices in daily life. In November of 2013, the next
> iteration of OEbi-product of labor¹ will be on view in Abu Dhabi at Studio
> 1054. http://www.lyngoeringer.com/portfolio/?page_id=353
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,Cornell University
> Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu <mailto:rtf9 at cornell.edu>>
> URL:  http://www.renateferro.net <http://www.renateferro.net/>
>       http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> <http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net/>
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net <http://www.tinkerfactory.net/>
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

Emilie St.Hilaire
Research and Accreditation Coordinator
Alberta School of Business, 3-30Q Business Building
University of Alberta, T6G 2R6
(780) 492-3054
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20150510/de1f0250/attachment.html>

More information about the empyre mailing list