That Might Be Right

The Labour of Laziness

Together with Steyn Bergs and Sofia Céasar we are formulating a workshop on laziness and its potential, yet contradictory, subversive character.

The Labour of Laziness explored the ambiguous, complex, and contradictory valences of the mood of laziness, and to examining its lingering subversive or invigorating political effects.

Though often perceived negatively and considered an unwanted affect, laziness nonetheless offers an alternative to the ever-accelerating rhythms of work and production, which expropriate time and energy from people. More and more, work encompasses communication, the establishment of interpersonal relationships, and eliciting emotional responses. In other words, work increasingly involves and calls upon people’s bodily and mental states – their moods.

Furthermore, in the regime of neoliberalism, tirelessly working on and investing in oneself becomes an exigency. Because of their relative economic precarity, but also because of the nature of their work, artists and art workers often find themselves at the forefront of exploitation and, perhaps especially, self-exploitation. In our readings we were less interested in laziness as a mode of resistance to this regime, than we are in laziness as a lateral form of political agency. In other words, we were not necessarily after laziness as a straightforward opposition to work—as passivity, as simple refusal of work, as ‘doing nothing’. Instead, in discussing laziness, we want to raise questions about work and productivity in the arts. We wanted to examine whether, through the mood of laziness, we might explore different ways of relating to (working) time.

Beatriz Colomina (2018) The 24/7 Bed
André Lepecki (2020) Movement in the Pause
Kathi Weeks (2011) A Life Beyond Work

The workshop took place at a.pass and is part of a block curated by Isabell Burr Raty, Antye Guenther, Adrijana Gvozdenović, Sara Manente, Rob Ritzen and Sina Seifee.

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