Biographies of Transition: Too Busy To Think
All images (+3)
Anoushka Akel, Halil Altındere, Billy Apple®, Marie-Louise Ekman, Hamishi Farah, Ayesha Green, Gil Hanly, David Hockney, Cengiz Tekin, Hito Steyerl, Matthew Ward for Miko Revereza
Too Busy To Think (as a term, condition, and exhibition) emerges from the nature of the time we share with machines. Machines that think. We, as machines.
Thinking is not an ability attributed only to human beings. And thinking is not simply an inherent attribute of the human being; it can also be something that is fought for, it can be a political act, a radical attainment.
Our zeitgeist desperately calls Hannah Arendt back; The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) a tool for understanding the forms of isolation, solitude, and loneliness we experience today. Thinking requires a kind of solitude, according to Arendt, but not loneliness or isolation. It needs friendship, company, and sharing. Arendt’s term “Musse” cannot be translated into English, but can be taken as a term for a particular type of leisure. Musse is the German version of the Latin concept of “otium” denoting the free time (we have for contemplation) when we are not busy (opposed to "negotium", the time when we are not free for contemplation, i.e. when we are busy). Muse, or museum cannot be etymologically separated from this discussion. Biographies of Transition, parallel spaces of intimacy, transformative environments of crisis, psycho geographies of conflict, and the political narratives of human lives are each given consideration by revisiting her remonstrance.
In a 1934 letter to Gershom Scholem Arendt wrote:
“One feels very lonely in this country; this has to do in particular with the fact that everyone is very busy and that for most people the need for leisure simply ceases to exist after a certain amount of time.”
Through conversations with its contributors, this exhibition intends to edit: it edits a collection of works, forming a grammar that not only narrates the impact of individual biographies on the works, but also the role of nature, environment, and other —all other agents—in the process of research and production. Becoming a temporary space for the sharing of life and work, inevitably, the exhibition comes to refer to the psychoanalytic of private and public, labour and leisure, and the role of the contemporary self, its portraiture, in presentation languages.
Public institutions demand a critical duality of questions: How much does it cost? What does it mean?
These questions can be asked of exhibitions, institutions, and human beings, as fragile and temporary forms of life alike.