Chuck Kuan

On Boredom

computer performance (2016)

“So much does the boredom’s realization appear as loss of realization that the worker loses realization to the point of starving to death.So much does objectification appear as loss of the object that the worker is robbed of the objects most necessary not only for his life but for his work. Indeed, boredom itself becomes an object which he can obtain only with the greatest effort and with the most irregular interruptions. So much does the appropriation of the object appear as estrangement that the more objects the worker produces the less he can possess and the more he falls under the sway of his product, data.”

On Boredom is a screen-based performance (enacted by a computer) that highlights and problematizes the blurring boundaries between work and play in the virtual world. It uses the repetitive motions of scrolling through a webpage to create a recursive structure in which the audience is induced into the mental headspace of someone spacing out. A find-and-replace operation on a Marx passage on the estranging effect of labor (replacing labor with boredom) interplays with the scrolling of The Atlantic’s article  about post-work society, creating the experience of watching a bot programmed to perform boredom muse about its implications and consequences.