Paid Leave or Manifesto for the Art of Doing Nothing

Art is no question of technology.
Art is indifferent to the means of producing art.
Art is concept.
Art is doing nothing.

All centuries that passed knew an active an a passive state of being – a vita activa and a vita contemplativa – pottering around and contemplation. Warrior and monk, politician and philosopher. Indeed, the whole digital revolution owes everything to acting and resting, off and on, the one and the zero. But we exploited this antagonism, printed it on circuit boards and forgot in a permanent global-capital-acting what our mobile phone and PDA is really based upon.

We are hyperactive and try in our wellness-driven time-off to overcome this amnesia by practising eastern tea-ceremonies and jumping about in meditation classes.

And here is Marcel Duchamp: Comfortingly he looks in our eyes, gives us a wink and makes the next move in his game of chess. It doesn’t matter that he invented the ready-mades and so widened the idea of art until it dissolved. It doesn’t matter that by overstraining the use of the pseudonym the artist himself in the end dissolved in schizophrenia. Marcel is important just because he played chess - but all the others thought that this had a relation to art. Marcel stopped producing art and – being inactive – he became the first conceptional artist.

And while Joseph Beuys is moaning: “The silence of Duchamp is overrated” we explain to the shaman that all artists are healers.

But when art by turning to the concept quite relaxed deflates the super-active society spectacle and remembers the lost time, it so to speak mutates to the Dr. Freud of the Chronos complex. Just as Chronos devours his children the capitalistic full-time machinery with its Hollywoodisation swallows up even the last little bit of real “free” time. Even the memory of it seems suppressed and lost. And so all that remains is the artist’s conceptual “doing-nothing” as healing rescue from the daily time swallowing grinder.

If Adorno sees the lighting-up of utopia merely in the denial of existent, the independent artist sets his/her free time against the dominating compulsion to buy and to work.

But as good old Dr. Freud realised: Only paid therapy is good therapy. And therefore we as artists demand the payment of our conceptional doing nothing as healing welfare for the free-time-less society.

We demand

- minimum wage for the artist’s free time
- paid leave
- realisation of Gustav Metzger’s idea of interning work-addicted artists.
- closed galleries on Saturdays
- the ban of composita like “software-art” (this is craft-industry and therefore misleading).
- the revaluation of zero.

Think free, take your free time, be free.