A HYMN OF PRAISE TO IDLENESS
How do we want to be treated with our time? Two design students invite you to write down your own reflections on this question for an exhibition in 50 years.
Get the first emails of the day out at breakfast. Search the world wide web for inline skates during the zoom call. Everyone is now inline skating. Do yoga after work and as a symbol of the intact work-life balance there is still an appointment in the evening. You then tell them about the successful day. And from the stress caused by the two-minute bus delay. While still talking, you post a picture of yourself and your date on social media and appreciate how efficiently you are using the time.
Emmelie Althaus and Leonie Matt want to pull off this rapid ravage of time in their video “It’s about time”. The two study Transformation Design at the Braunschweig University of Art . What does that mean? For example, a product designer looks at a coffee pot. Customer reviews say it drips. The designers then come up with something clever, how they can adjust the pot head so that the dripping stops and the coffee instead arrives in the cup with a pleasant bubble where it is supposed to go. Transformational designers look at where, metaphorically speaking, it is dripping in society.
The two students perceive such a drop in terms of time use. They see acceleration everywhere with the aim of creating and consuming as much as possible as efficiently as possible. This obsession with speed is often not only at the expense of one’s own cortisol level, but also at the expense of the environment. Because: The more we do, the more CO2 we necessarily consume.ReTimeCon, a research association on the topic of time, explains it something like this: If I work a lot, I might buy a device to do sports at home because I don’t think I have time to drive to training. The device then stands around at home and consumes energy. In the end I might not use it at all and have a bad conscience in addition to the increasing energy consumption. At the same time, the economy is running faster and faster, collections are becoming more short-lived because the coffee machine is not repaired due to lack of time, but replaced. All of this consumes more resources in less time. It can’t go on like this, the two transformers decided, because at this rate it won’t be long before the barrel overflows with sheer drops.
During their research for a design project, they delved into time and how it has changed over the centuries. Today in capitalist countries it is self-branding to speak proudly of one’s own unproductiveness and laziness. Even in ancient Greece, idleness and free time were considered privileges of scholars. What this look back into history shows: It doesn’t have to be the way it is.
One step towards change is reflection. Both want to encourage others to take this step and fill a time capsule with letters from the year 2021 in which people put their time use to the test.
Matt and Althaus also reflected on their own use of time. They resolved to only be available during fixed working hours. They wanted to take the weekend off. They found that change requires a lot of self-discipline. It’s not that easy to slow down yourself when everything around you is going on. This realization encouraged her in her plan to propagate idleness. The time capsule is scheduled to open in 2051. Emmelie Althaus and Leonie Matt hope to be able to experience the exhibition themselves when they are in their mid-fifties. What will people have written about their time use in 2021?
Letters can be sent until December 2021 to:
Further information and suggestions for the content of the letter can be found in theopen call.