In the interplay of online and offline, a campaign for boredom questions how we deal with moments of inactivity in everyday life.
First of all: Are you reading this on a computer? Get your mobile phone out and scan the QR-code to see what shaping-boredom.ch wants to tell you. Are you on your phone already? Then click here. Pay attention! The website is intentionally designed for phones only.
The results of a survey with over a hundred people show that younger people (age 20 - 30) already associate short moments of inactivity with boredom, such as waiting at the bus stop or driving to work. In comparison, older people (age 50 - 70) are almost never bored and if so, only after days or weeks. In such moments, they are more likely to become active and do something, whereas younger people often get stuck in the state of not-knowing-what-to-do and react with passive online consumption. How does online entertainment influence the way we deal with boredom? Do we get bored more quickly nowadays than in the past?
Anyone who is bored today has either failed or refuses to embrace a culture of constant occupation and overwork. When moments of doing nothing trigger overwhelm, stress and a guilty conscience in everyday life, the internet offers easily accessible distraction. While scrolling, the inner turmoil fades immediately, and a pleasant relief sets in. Although online entertainment may initially release a feeling of happiness, escaping into the digital drains our energy within a short time and content triggers insecurity or frustration. We end up tired, disappointed, and still: bored. In the long run, we unlearn online how to engage with the world around us and become worse at successfully managing boredom.
«Shaping Boredom» seeks a self-determined and conscious approach to moments of inactivity in everyday life.
An intervention in the public space (the documentation of it you do find on top of this page) builds the core of the campaign: Scan the QR-code and go online or build something out of sand and stay offline. In the interplay of online and offline, habits are questioned, decisions are made consciously, and the curiosity of passers-by is aroused to get interested in the website shaping-boredom.ch: What happens if you decide to scan de QR-code?
As you arrive on the landing page of the website, you are asked where you want to go. If you choose to go online, you fill the screen with sand by scrolling down. Once you are done, you are asked why you just did so. An audio file (read by the actress Noémie Fiala) on the process of going online and its impact on our health is played. The voice suggests to take a look at the alternative to being online: going offline. Once there, a second text explains how difficult it can be to stay offline these days and gives viewers an image to take away: next time you go offline, perhaps you rather welcome the peace in the emptiness of this sandy landscape than wanting to escape from it.
I did a lot of research on the topic of boredom, including a survey with over a hundred people and twenty pages of written analysis; creative communication concept and realization of three interventions in the public space; concept for a short film; corporate design for a website, including the realization of animations, graphics, texts and audio.
The documentation of the intervention has been filmed by Samuel Wetter. The website has been realized by Yorick Oertle and Yanick Cserhati (Studio Blastoff). The audio has been spoken by the actress Noémie Fiala. For the concept of the corporate design, I was in close contact with Ramona Gschwend.
The website is currently used in psychological counseling with young people at Praxis Lichtblick and has already led to a new cooperation with a magazine on addiction (Suchtmagazin).
From February until the end of June 2021 / sixth semester at ZHdK, final bachelor thesis, four months with Daniel Späti and Bitten Stetter.