There's No Such Thing As Boredom
“We want to hear the inner-monologue that is triggered when you think about the statement There's No Such Thing As Boredom.”
It is this inner-monologue that I am so intrigued by. On the one hand, having an inner-monologue, a voice, helps to keep the mind active. Thinking. Whereby you are in a continuous proactive and productive cycle.
As an artist, constantly thinking and planning your next creation, with this inner-monologue, how can you possibly be bored? On the other hand, it is this pest that teases you when you have a task, it persuades you to have this dull, mist of a feeling called ‘I’m bored’. It convinces you that in fact you have no interest in the task at hand and there is inevitably something better to be getting on with (but boredom will never allow you to know what that ‘something better’ really is – it TRICKS YOU!).
This somewhat obscure statement leads me to believe that ‘boredom’ is but a conscious decision, choice and state of mind.
At first, I was quick to jump onto the “I’m bored” bandwagon (I told you, it teases and manipulates you). Quick to defend the statement and fight for its right to reason, I would suggest that being bored is normal and something that we all have learned through upbringing and nurture – a habit perhaps? In today’s society, we are fed on a drip of entertainment. In contact with a constant feed of information and choice of activity through modern technology and social media. It is this that ironically causes us to become bored. Once we are left to entertain ourselves, regardless of all of the tools and apparatus that we are supplied with, we always find an excuse and that excuse is ‘boredom’.
But given that my art practice is focused on the concept of filling and documenting time, I realised that in fact I avoid “boredom” without boredom really existing (in my humble opinion). I have a fear of allowing it to creep into my mind and encourage me to move from one idea to the next, rapidly shifting my attention and finding something else to occupy my time. In turn, removing my choice of spending time fully with the original subject or concept.
Anhedonia, coined by French Psychologist Theodule-Armand Ribot, is a term used to describe people who have the inability to feel gratification of pleasure, or interest within life. Some call it “existential boredom” whereby there is a lack of interest for anything. Not simply because they have been in the same room for hours, or because they are waiting for the microwave to finish
heating up their leftovers from the night before, but a lack of interest and feeling of value and purpose within anything they do. A constant state of ‘boredom’. Anhedonia is a state of mind that I have never experienced or ventured to. For my practice, I study the balance achieved when both boredom and productivity are used together. Both being by-products of time and time spent ‘doing’ or ‘being’ with an object, material, place or process.
As an artist, I strive to demonstrate the relationship between the two.
“There’s no such thing as boredom” got my mind ticking over at 100mph and I have been trying to put into words just how I can approach the making of a work in response to it. Simple, subtle suggestions through work is what I aim to achieve. To create something that is rich in concept and activates the audiences mind. Leaving a trace of productivity and process, but settling with a monotonous, repetitive, perhaps even boring action.
An idea I have in response to this statement is to make a handmade yarn; a time-consuming process, placing a value upon an object and material. However, this would not be your traditional yarn made from the wool of a sheep. But in fact, yarn made from hairs used to make a common artist tool – a paintbrush. I can imagine a very quiet, slight thread, joined by small molecules of transparent glue, sitting silently within a gallery space. Or perhaps the deconstruction of a bale of hay/straw, again taking the time to join each wisp to another, resulting in a ball of coarse yarn that originates from a useful but perhaps mundane object/material.
When boredom trespasses, we can use its pest-like mannerisms and characteristics to our advantage. We can enter into a frame of mind that is perhaps more adventurous than the one we are used to on a day-to-day basis. Anhedonia is a part of psychology that terrifies me and I do everything in my power to ensure that my art practice keeps me from this state of mind. Instead, I try to choose boredom as a “creative privilege”, a privilege that one can most certainly take for granted.
“Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away” – Walter Benjamin.