For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Confirmed keynote speakers: Mieke Bal (University of Amsterdam) & Michael E. Gardiner (University of Western Ontario)

Detail Summary
Start date 20 September 2018
End date 21 September 2018
Time 00:00

The white suburban middle class housewives of the 1950s and 60s, confined to the home, were overcome with a strong sense of boredom. The punk youth of the 70s, with no prospect on a future, but with a fiery desire to reject, shouted “London’s burning with boredom” in unison with the Clash song. In the 2000s, the Apple factory claimed that the workers in China committed suicide “out of boredom”, even though their working conditions were “just fine.” The phones produced by these workers began to be considered the remedy eliminating boredom in their users. Boredom is a pervasive experience and theories about its causes and symptoms are as numerous as they are diverse.

In psychology, for instance, boredom has often been seen as resulting from a lack of stimuli and being stuck in routines, as a case that can be “treated” scientifically. It has been studied in various contexts, including the home, the factory, the university and the military. In philosophy and sociology, boredom is associated, at times, with depression, loneliness, and lack of inspiration. At other times, it is associated with artistic creativity or the will to venture out into new experiences and practices. Furthermore, boredom has been widely discussed as a defining feature of modernity and the modern urban experience, no longer confined to the lives of the rich with their abundance of leisure time. More recently, boredom has been revisited as one of the manifestations of marginalization and precarization in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Such diverse interpretations reveal the productivity and versatility of boredom as a conceptual framework to unpack social critique. The workshop Politics of Boredom attempts to approach boredom as a travelling concept across different fields and contexts, aiming for an interdisciplinary analysis including media, feminist and literary studies, and affect and political theory. One of the aims of this workshop is to explore the cultural, political and affective environments that boredom is situated in and distributed accordingly. Another goal is to ask whether boredom may also trigger reorganizations of everyday life: Can it work as a collective force for creativity? Can it be an affective entry point to build new political subjectivities?



Wednesday, 19 September

16:00-18:00 Opening of the exhibition (Corridor Project Space)


Thursday, 20 September

10:00 Welcoming coffee + speech (University Theater)

10:30-12:00 Keynote (University Theater)

Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Boredom and Emotional Capitalism: a Cure or a Lure?

12:00-13:00 Lunch Break

13:30-15:00 Panel 1: Historicizing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)

Yewon Hong (University of Amsterdam), The End of Boredom: Introducing Fun in Work Spaces in South Korea

Katy Lawn (University of London), Art/Work: How Can Modern Art Help Us Theorise the Experience of Boredom at Work

Alper Turan (Sabancı University), Bored as Gay: Notes on Michael Stamm's Paintings

15:00-15:30 Coffee Break

15:30-17:00 Panel 2: Collectivizing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)

Begüm Özden Fırat (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University), After the Event: We are Bored

Jeff Diamanti (University of Amsterdam), Farewell to Boring Weather: On Heliotropic Pleasure, Adorno’s Tan Lines, and Rise of the Climate Industry 

Sophie Behal, Isadora Epstein, Eoghan McIntyre, Maeve Lynch, Rosie O’Reilly and Benjamin Stafford, Bureaucratic Aesthetics: Art and Boredom


Friday, 21 September

10:30-11:30 Keynote (University Theater)

Michael E. Gardiner, University of Western Ontario, A Tale of Two ‘68s: The ‘Politics of Boredom’ in France and Italy”

12:00-13:00 Lunch Break

13:30-15:00 Panel 3: Writing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)

Simon Nagy (University of St Andrews), Walter Benjamin’s Subversive Boredom in Kenneth Goldsmith’s Capital

Marta Koronkiewicz & Paweł Kaczmarski (University of Wrocław), A Strange City: Poetry and the Politics of Idleness

Oytun Elaçmaz (Sabancı University), The Search that Never Ends: Expressions of Boredom in Yusuf Atılgan’s Aylak Adam

15:00-15:30 Coffee Break

15:30-17:00 Panel 4: Experiencing Boredom (Corridor Project Space)

Salomé Burstein, The Silk and the Screen: Spectatorships of Boredom in Andy Warhol’s Early Movies

Sebastian Cordes, Performative presentation: It's all right there on the surface – an ode to surface and boredom

belit sağ & Angela Jerardi, Performance: She said, take your time, he said, save my time, they said, paste her time

17:00-18:00 Coffee + snacks

18:00-19:00 Student-led round table discussion (Corridor Project Space)

On the Boredom of Student Life

19:00-20:00 Drinks

* Panels are only for the participants. Everyone is welcome to join the keynote talks and visit the exhibition.

* Politics of Boredom exhibition will take place at Corridor Project Space and can be visited between 19-23 September (19th: 4pm - 6pm, 20th:10am - 1pm, 21th:10am - 1pm and 22th: 12-6pm)


Participating Artists: Artikisler Collective, Chai Vivan, Fırat Yücel, Matias Daporta, Mieke Bal, Raşel Meseri, Sanne Karssenberg, Sebastian Cordes



University Theater
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18, 1012 CP Amsterdam

Corridor Project Space
Veemkade 574, 1019BL, Amsterdam


More information:


Organized by Aylin Kuryel, Adam Gisborne, Helen Weeres
Supported by NICA, LCA, ASCA and ACGS