On the Art of Appearing Productive

On the Art of Appearing Productive


I have lost count of the times people who know me primarily through my digital life, when we meet in real life, seem aghast at how busy I am and how productive I am and how amazing I am (I made that last bit up). Then I immediately start nervously waffling about things I am up to, things I have seen, maybe things I have read, things I have done and things I intend to do. The art of appearing productive is pretty much embedded in us, we have evolved into homo oeconomicus, a fully quantified self.

Today I was intending to go to another lecture/workshop on The Algorythimc Self.. talks and workshops on the use of what is known as Quantified Self technology, electronic devices we are now plugging ourselves into in order to quantify our heart rate, our productivity, how regular we open our bowels. My 17 year old son laughed at me once for being horrified that there is an app which young ones are using where you log the most mundane things you do in your life, such as brushing your teeth, input it into the app and get points which then apparently unlock 'levels', essentially turning your whole daily activities into a game.

So were is this all leading to? I suppose it is me trying to work out why I have a niggling constant feeling of never doing enough, an anxiety in the morning when I wake up, that I amn't doing enough. I certainly amn't making any art. I am only writing here and there. I don't have any deadlines or the desire to apply for any open calls, enter any creative competitions or reformulate my cv. I couldn't give a flying fuck about making work to fit another curatorial theme, or making a statement up to make my already made work fit a curatorial theme.


When I feel like this I usually run to Barnaby Drabbles (what a name!) essay On De-organisation. It helps. Today I am going to peruse the book Self Organised whence the article comes from. I don't have anything better to do today other than the kids, the dogs, the house, the usual stuff I don't seem to get kudos for....... HOLD ON..... maybe just maybe Ill download that game my son was on about and start giving myself points for EVERYTHING. That might help with my frame of mind, the gratification side of things.. But it probably wont help me go to my own studio and actually give myself some time and space to consider making some work. The work I have been thinking about for so long but just cant put my finger on. Instead I will download an app that will give me a point for every time i do the dishes, or do a load of washing, or walk the dogs, or brush my teeth. Its going to be a day of Quantifying myself to myself. Art can wait.


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