How do we manage and value our time? Do we get carried away by the frantic rhythm that sweeps through society, where every moment must count and where each action has to deliver concrete results? What if, in opposition to this trend, we decide to slow down this rhythm and focus on tedious activities that are not quite as productive? It may reveal that these moments that allow our minds to have empty thoughts can become more valuable than the productive ones.
Michał Smandek and Dalila Gonçalves allow themselves to waste time. Smandek’s on-site creative process is based on patiently searching for a place and then waiting for the right moment to act. By wandering he synchronizes with nature’s rhythm, allowing himself to either do nothing or only basic activities to pass the time.
In Gonçalves’ work, the concept of time and its passing are initially implemented through the choice of materials – factory products which she obsessively collects – and later, hand-crafts. Through the monotonous approach to her work, she directs our attention to the idea of slowing down, and the need to stop praising global industrialization. The artist deprives the objects of their utilitarian function, and searches for new artistic forms closer to the nature of the material itself.
There are two types of boredom: one which stimulates creativity, and one leading to apathy. They can also be called situational boredom – for example waiting in a queue for an appointment, and existential boredom – a general senselessness. Their causes are different. It’s quite possible that waiting for a doctor’s appointment, a philosopher wouldn’t be bored or a football fan could enjoy a match with extra play time. Philip Zimbardo noticed that what we require and what is commonly misdefined as boredom is actually time we need for ourselves.
It’s said that the overflow of stimuli is harmful, but their lack is just as bad. Gonçalves and Smandek know that all art is about the balance between stimulation and relaxation.