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Contract: 'Doing Nothing' for Payment

artist's edition
legal agreement for the activation of the performance

29,8 x 21 cm


graphic design:  Bonsma & Reist

image by Azad Asifovic

The edition is a performative tool that allows to its owner to 'do nothing' and get paid.

The edition consists of a legal agreement pre-signed by the artist. It spells out conditions that ‘doing nothing’ for payment will be both subject to and enabled by. The countersignature makes the agreement effective: it allows to the owner of the edition to realise the performance. They can 'do nothing' for payment at the place and on the time of their choosing. The maximum duration of 'doing nothing' foreseen by the contract is one hour. It is possible to 'do nothing' within the period of one year since the effective date of the agreement. 

The original idea of paying people for ‘doing nothing’ was born from a discussion with Azad Asifovich, Azerbadjan-born, Paris-based curator, in the beginning of March 2020. It was conceived as a reaction to the pervading pressure for extensive overproduction and efficiency in the art-world and beyond. The exceptional circumstances that followed with the general lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic made an uncanny echo to this project.

The present contract is an elaboration of a model agreement drafted together with legal expert Julie Van Elslande and cultural worker Jesse Van Winden within the framework of the research on ecologies of artistic practice entitled Caveat and conducted by the Brussels-based platform Jubilee.

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