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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

performance                                              film                                      critical texts                                             publications

'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:

New Ways of Doing Nothing, cat. Kunsthalle Wein, edited by Vanessa Joan MüllerCristina Ricupero and Nicolaus Schafhausen, 2014

David Graeber, Bullshit jobs

Maurizio Lazzarato, Marcel Duchamp and the Refusal of Work, 2014

Kazimir Malevitch, "Lazyness, the Real Truth of the Mankind: Work as an Instrument to reach truth; Philosophy of the socialist idea", 1921

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

John Cage, Lecture on NothingLecture on Something, 1953

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

Gabriel Martinez, An hour of labor is purchased from the owner of a business and given to an employee in the form of a siesta, 2006

Pierre Huyghe, L'Association des Temps Libérés (The Association of Freed Time), 1995

Robert Filliou, “not deciding, not choosing, not wanting, not owning... sitting quietly and doing nothing”


Independent, "Japanese Man You Can ‘Rent To Do Nothing’ Has Thousands Of Clients", 2021

Related artworks


next version of the performance:


Ne rien faire contre rémunération'


New Space, Liege (Be)

IMG_6904 (2).jpg

artist's edition:


Contract 'Doing nothing' for payment


legal agreement

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