Visitors of an Exhibition Space are Suggested to 'Do Nothing'
(participatory) (delegated) performance, legal agreement
co-produced by Caveat, Brussels
exhibition In the Long Blink of an Eye, HISK, Gosset site, Brussels
curated by Daniella Géo
Images by the artist, Laure Cottin Stefanelli & Manuel Wetscher
'Doing nothing' - this paradoxal, since being defined by negation, task was proposed to the visitors of an exhibition that took place in Brussels (Dec, 2020 - Jan, 2021) in a form of a performative piece.
Entitled Visitors of an Exhibition Space Are Suggested to 'Do Nothing’, this participatory set-up indeed invited visitors to ‘do nothing’, but first meticulously spelling out the conditions that ‘doing nothing’ will be both subject to and enabled by: visitors sign a contract that was developed by the artist in close collaboration with a lawyer, and which is legally valid and binding. After 'doing nothing', they get remunerated and receive a proof of payment. It was possible for visitors to take part in the performance and ‘do nothing’ for any amount of time, whereas the compensation is foreseen for the number of full hours.
The contract for 'doing nothing' specified that all applicable taxes and social contributions should be paid by both parties according to local laws and regulations.
Visitors of an exhibition space are suggested to 'do nothing' is conceived as a re-enactable piece.
Bibliography (in progress, open-ended)
Texts / Books:
David Graeber, Bullshit jobs
Maurizio Lazzarato, Marcel Duchamp and the Refusal of Work, 2014
Henri David Thoreau, Walden,1854
Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 1943
Cressida J. Heyes, Anaesthetics of Existence: Essays on Experience at the Edge, 2020
Herman Melville, Bartleby, 1853
Paul Lafargue, The Right To Be Lazy, 1883
Jeremy Rifkin, La fin du travail, 1995
Joshua Glenn, An Idler’s Glossary, 2008
Judith Butler, "Can One Lead a Good Life in a Bad Life?", 2012
Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 04.05.1961 “On the Reinforcement of the Struggle against Individuals Evading Socially Useful Labor and Leading Antisocial Parasitic Lifestyles" (RU), 1961
Francis Alÿs, Paradox of Praxis : “Sometimes making something leads to nothing", 1997 - 1998
Santiago Serra, action when he he paid the minimum wage to a revolving group of unemployed people to simply stand facing a white wall, while one man stood alone facing a corner, 2004
Mladen Stilinović, Artist At Work, 1967 and other works
Robert Filliou, “not deciding, not choosing, not wanting, not owning... sitting quietly and doing nothing”