Annie Runkel

Current research/thesis title:

Unlocking the Utopian Potential of Boredom

"In response to a growing body of work in the field of boredom research which sees the experience of boredom as an important incentive for a change in human behaviour, the project sets out to explore the energising potential of boredom in the context of socially engaged artistic practice."

The project investigates the power of boredom as a tool in activist art.

In response to a growing body of work in the field of boredom research which sees the experience of boredom as an important incentive for a change in human behaviour, the project sets out to explore the energising potential of boredom in the context of socially engaged artistic practice.

Recent years has seen a surge in global activist movements such as Me Too, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy. At the same time, there has also been an increase of activist awareness in art – not only in small grassroot movements but also at the very centre of prestigious art institutions. In 2011 the activist artist Ai Weiwei took over the Tate Modern turbine hall while the Turner Prize was awarded to the architectural collective Assemble in 2015.

Considering the predominance of activist art today, it seems important to take a closer look at this particular type of creative practice and explore some of its forms, methods, challenges, and underlying assumptions. What is activist art? How does it work? How effective is it in challenging audiences and communicating a message?

The project will try to answer these questions through a practice-led research approach. Using boredom and its unique potential to spur action and facilitate change as a starting point, the project aims to provide insights into the workings of activist artistic practice and the role boredom could play within it.

Names of Supervisors: Dr Anna Notaro and Professor Tracy Mackenna