“Presently bored: a gift from the vita contemplativa to the vita activa” 2011,
infinitely looping video
Video/film, by it’s nature, projects light from the past into the present. It also (typically) requires the viewer to be static, passive, and time bound.
Considering modernity as a time of action glorified over considered contemplation, the present has ushered in passive acceptance. In our desire to move forward at a rapid pace seldom do we consider time or ideas on a larger scale, and as such, modern contemplation has become a stunted “repetitive gesture [that] does not lead to any result.”1
In allowing light from the past to play as a film in the present, the piece offers an abstracted, appropriated version of perceptual art, packaging and looping the existential experience into a static, transferable, and portable vision. As modern and post-modern art has engaged the previously spiritual domains of religion—offering it’s own versions of transcendence through “weak signs”2— Presently Bored satirically and seriously offers mediation from the frenetic activities of our modern life. As both “art” and “film” it achieves a culturally permissible loop-hole allowing silent, dedicated contemplation on any number of issues as both contemplative and active time.
For examples of what one may contemplate with this gifted time from the past:
1. the contiguous scope of time as localized individuality,
2. the quandary of accepting the past as the current present,
3. how a rectangle of light on the wall is the same shape as a painting, so maybe it is a painting. And, if that’s true then why go to the Rothko Chapel when I can watch it on my iPad?
4. we are all going to die, (but not right now, probably later)
5. how to naturally access a primal, perceptual euphoria previously reserved for religious or drug-induced trances.
1. Boris Groys, “Going Public” Sternberg Press 2010, pg 99
2. Giorgio Agamben “The Time That Remains “
The 9 minute time length references Douglas Davis’s performance in the 1977 Documenta “The Last 9 Minutes,” and is a few seconds shy of a double feature of John Cage’s “4’33”.