“The structure upon which we’ve built our work expectations has been hurting us for a long time. When you combine our culture of chronic overwork with the distraction inherent to technology and social media, at a time when people are forced to stay at home, you have a recipe for amplified anxiety and shame. This puts people on a fast-track to burnout.1
The SYSTEM wants us to keep moving, keep doing, keep producing, keep consuming.
The TURMOIL comes from pressures one faces in a perceived need to have to conform.
The AGITATION arises as a result of believing we do not have a right to pause.
The SYSTEM supports a ubiquitous structure that we feel trapped into following.
The TURMOIL it creates within us becomes more apparent when we feel a need to stop.
The AGITATION experienced is both internal and external; we’re all in the same boat.
How do we build an antidote?
I want to propose a space of co-creation in which we come together specifically to rest. To carve out moments for action – or non-action – that is effortless and allows the mind to unwind.
It’s a group that assembles – whether collectively with safe distancing IRL, individually in our imaginations, or simultaneously on a screen – and chooses to spend the afternoon reading; walking; knitting; daydreaming; baking a cake. We unite in a daylong Digital Sabbath, shutting all devices, and dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. We unite to reflect upon/raise intention about/hold space for what comes next: mentally constructing a time after the pandemic. We unite to quietly mourn our Old World. Calmly grapple with the present. Rejoice in capacity for breath. Momentarily resist doing.
It’s a workshop, it’s a performance, it’s a public infiltration, it’s a conversation. It’s a curated experience. It’s a group nap. It’s all of these at once. It’s none of these at all. It looks like Nothing but a lot like LIFE. Like life but framed by ART. Subtle resistance.
What this pandemic shows is that we can stop everything in a moment’s notice. I hope that rather than panic and try to rush back to normalcy, people will reflect on what it is we should leave behind, rather than resume. 2 ”
— Victoria Stanton
1. Harfoush, R. (2020) Interviewed by Lindsey Tramuta for Bloomberg, 11 May. Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-11/exercising-eating-right-won-t-prevent-burnout (Accessed: 11 May 2020).
2. Smart, A. (2020) Interviewed by Sam Blum for Vox, 22 May. Available at: https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/5/15/21252544/coronavirus-covid-19-hustle-work-productivity-ambition-loss (Accessed: 26 May 2020).