[-empyre-] Technology and Boredom and what about literature?

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Tue May 12 04:31:04 AEST 2015

Dear Lyn, Emilie, Ben and John,
Thanks so much for sharing your work with us. It¹s been
interesting thus far to see somewhat of a divide in terms of the way that
boredom is
theorized. Emilie and Ben, you have  theoretically distinguished boredom
as having a
temporal status both internally as mind-wandering and as a
phenomenological experience
through technology.
Lyn your clearly Marxist tendencies seem to be more in tune
with some of John¹s interests in labor, productivity and pleasure.

Earlier last week Ben mentioned the tedium of coding and
Emilie in your work you use technology to create meditative, immersive
spaces but I¹m
wondering if anyone  could comment on the qualities of technology¹s
immaterial  in regards to boredom?

I¹ve also been thinking about literature and boredom.  Anyone have any
good references in literature to the act of boredom?
Really enjoying all the posts.  Renate

On 5/11/15, 2:12 PM, "B. Bogart" <ben at ekran.org> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Hello Murat, (and Emilie)
>You ask:
>> Ben, on what basis are you assuming daydreaming is (always?)
>> "informed by predictive models of reality." What makes you say that?
>> The assumption seems arbitrary (or an apriori assumption) to me.
>This is the basis of my PhD. The most complete description of the
>argument is available in this unpublished paper:
>Note, the theory has not been empirically validated.
>In my thinking, prediction is central to perception. We constrain
>recognition by learning contexts in which certain stimuli are likely to
>occur. Would you argue that perception is a task? I would certainly
>argue that perception is augmented by the particular goals in play at a
>time, but that does not necessarily mean that all perception is
>You go on to write that it could be argued that "daydreaming is a mental
>act that tries to escape predictive behavior or task driven behavior."
>I would say that all learned behaviour is predictable behaviour, and
>thus most behaviour is actually predictable (again at some level of
>abstraction). Mind wandering is an escape from the predictability of
>external reality, rather than an escape from one's own predictable
>behaviour. I may go so far to say that by our ability to internalize
>learned behaviours our minds are most often already disengaged
>from our predictable behaviours. The predictability of these behaviours
>means we do not need to (constantly) consciously invest in them. e.g.
>walking is a predictable behaviour that rarely requires conscious
>You further write:
>> In that way, in daydreaming the mind is never bored. Boredom sets in
>> when daydreaming ceases. May not daydreaming be an alternate mode of
>> focus, the mind's rebellion so to speak, contra "organized"
>> stimuli?"
>One of the interesting things about mind wandering, is that it's
>difficult to realize we are doing it. In fact, some studies have shown
>the Default Network is most engaged when we are not aware of mind
>wandering, but in fact are absolutely not attending to external
>stimulus. In short, we are often mind wandering without realizing we are
>mind wandering. This is because the areas of the brain that allow us to
>reflect on our own states of mind (parts of the prefrontal cortex) are
>diminished in mind wandering (and dreaming). All this to say that I
>think it's unlikely that boredom would not involve mind wandering, it's
>more likely we don't realize how pervasive mind wandering is.
>I'm trying to get my head around what a non-task oriented, not mind
>wandering, boring mind-state could be. Perhaps deep meditation could be
>a state of mind that is neither task positive nor negative? Any thoughts
>on this Emilie? Is meditation a task oriented activity? I would expect
>that the suppression of mind wandering would require a lot of mental
>control, the same kind of control used in task-oriented behaviour.
>Mind wandering could certainly be considered a rebellion where the
>internal asserts itself over the external. Could you elaborate on what
>you mean by "contra 'organized' stimuli?"
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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