Sphere of Influence, Manifesta11
Zurich, Switzerland, 2016

The Psyche of Occupational Boredom

Following on from my past investigations into the psyche of contrasting social groups, such as border migrants, third gender indigenous groups and Raelians, the idea here is to explore the psyche of everyday people engaged in some way or another in the social economy. The idea is to encourage the participation of white, blue, striped, pink collar and no collar visitors to Manifesta 11.
The desk:
‘I manifest my boredom’
Listening to a specially created hypnotic induction at the famed birthplace of DADA, the Cabaret Voltaire, the unconscious drives of visitors are invited to literally weigh and knead its boredom coefficient into a clay sphere. Each sphere is unique in size to each person and is a sublimation of the repetition-induced frustrations that they may feel at work.

The agora:

‘I gave my boredom away’

After the 15 minute audio session, the participant’s clay sphere is put on display at a nearby table or platform. The quantity and variety of spheres grows obsessively over time.

On leaving, the participant has the option to take another person’s sphere from the display in exchange for his/hers. The act of taking someone else’s sphere is a symbolic opportunity to exchange one’s own repetitive frustrations for the novelty of someone else’s routine, thus breaking the cycle of tedium.

Curated by Tanja Rochow and Manuel Scheiwiller
Thanks also to Chiara Ianeselli

TJ: People really had a very good experience. In the conversation after the audio some mentioned that it even felt to short and they would have liked it to be longer.
Really cool was that a group of about 20 16-18 year old school kids participated...and a huge discussion on boredom came up after :)
In another round one guy said he actually never feels bored in his life and that it was really strange for him to even think about it.
That is actually what happens to me, which made the project challenging for me to do!
Interesting to notice was that all artists who participated made really small clay balls.
ML: Yes ...my size would be tiny too!
TR: In one group it was a bit difficult with the English cause their English wasn't good enough to catch all details.
ML: yes I thought that could be a challenge!
TJ: Overall people really loved it and especially also the sharing part after the audio.
ML: Yes that is really the most important part of the process of learning and sharing.
TJ: I would say we have about 40-50 clay pieces. Will send you an image of the clay pieces later today...They are drying now.