D: what’s boredom for you?
A: lack of intellectual stimulation.
D: and when does it happen to you? often or sometimes?
A: Not often. In general, I’m too busy to be bored. Sometimes in social situations when I don’t feel connected to others.
D: I know that feeling
A: to me it’s more feeling “inadequate”… or not in the right place…
D: what do you do when you’re bored? have you ever paid attention to those moments?
A: I suppose in social situation there isn’t much to do about it. And I guess I haven’t given it much thought. Of course I get bored at home too if I don’t have work to do. I’ve found that over the past year I’ve had a bad tendency to surf the internet, looking at other people’s Instagram or Tumblr. That’s when I feel inadequate.
D: I never thought about that…the connection between inadequacy and boredom.
A: Interesting. Not sure. I guess I feel inadequate in that I have a bad tendency to measure myself against others. I look at Instagram and think ‘I am not that beautiful’ (not in a self-pitying way–I think), or my life isn’t that interesting. But I suppose all of that is context. No one is immune to context. So I guess boredom leads me ultimately to a feeling of inadequacy?
D: I guess so…I need to think about that. But, could boredom be productive? I mean, do you think that those “boring” moments are bearing something or are they just empty bubbles?
A: How so? I suppose there are those interstitial moments of boredom–waiting in line at the store, running errands (like what I’m up to today). And while I’m doing those things I’m keeping tabs on my observations, reminding myself to write things down or actually writing things down. Or thinking about something that I may later add to a story or poem. Or seeing something that influences me visually. So I guess boredom can generate those sorts of things. But is that boredom then?
D: Well, that’s the whole point. The more I dig into boredom, the more it appears like a circle. You don’t know exactly where it starts and ends. There are different kinds of boredom, from the existential to the creative one…
A: That is true. I guess I’m thinking too that you may mean using boredom itself as the material or substrate for creation. I’m thinking of Matthew Barney’s interminably boring but beautiful and mesmerizing films.
D: Time…duration…a story that takes its time to be told and maybe it’s leading nowhere, not satisfying our urgency for an answer, a solution…a story that is inviting the viewer to slow down.
A: That could be a physical representation or manifestation of boredom. I particularly like boring or receptive movies or music because they can be so mesmerizing. There is something almost spiritual about it. Exitstential. Existential I mean
D: Is it also because they take you somewhere else?
A: Beckett’s work comes to mind. Or performance art.
D: Yes, Beckett and boredom are strictly connected.
A: Now I am thinking about aleatory music and improvisation…
D: are you bored right now?
D: so you associate performance art to boredom?
A: To some extent, yes. Think of Abramović or Tilda Swinton sitting in a gallery and getting stared at all day. And then Beckett was about paring things down to the essential. Thank of Godot. Surely that has something to say about boredom.
D: …an expanded time where “nothing” new to seems happen. Just waiting. But in fact “nothing” IS happening. And what’s that nothing? What’s it made of? David Foster Wallace said: “Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about to kill you. Ride this out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”
A: Hm. That’s interesting.
D: Tell me…
A: The implication of traversing a terrain or coming out the other side of something renewed. And the certainty and clarity of it. I often feel like clarity is never really available. That clarity itself is another dream, just a different space among spaces. But I fall victim every day to the idea of clarity. I think I’ve arrived at some insight, feel it with some sense of certainty–only to wake the next day and feel the opposite or something adjacent to that clarity.
D: the image of a windscreen wiper at work, when it rains…for a moment you see clear and you’re feeling secure, but a moment after the view is not that clear anymore…ohm. ha. silly metaphor just came out
A: Perhaps. Perhaps not. I often answer “perhaps” to a lot of things, even perceived facts, which can frustrate people. They’ll say I’m wishy-washy. But I just say I’m trying to be realistic.
D: I know what you mean. Isn’t it also about trusting ourselves? Sometime it’s like we’re “holding the Truth” but then a second later we’re not so sure anymore. That moment of ultra-knowledge just disappears. What was it? I forgot. But everything made sense…for one second my existence was suddenly so clear.
A: I like “holding” in this instance. It can either be as in having it in hand. Or a staving off. I doubt, a lot
D: never be too sure, too self-confident. I don’t trust the one who doesn’t have doubts.
A: I know what you men. I never trust myself. while doubt opens door to questions. I think all art is rooted in doubt. Or has to be.
D: I agree. this also leaves space for the spectator’s gaze.
A: I was thinking about the gaze today, actually. My thought was, ‘You own a glimpse, but you don’t own a stare.’
D: What made you think about that?