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Boredom and Space

  • Christian Parreno
Chapter
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Abstract

Boredom appears as cause and effect of the cycle of innovation, as the disaffection with ‘the old’ that drives the search for ‘the new’. It is a state of ambiguity and ambivalence, idleness and restlessness, with a critical and relational essence. Although boredom has usually been described as a negative reaction to the environment, it also generates mental space, in real time, to promote mechanisms of introspection and transgression. The condition instigates experimentation with the ultimate aim to procure transcendence. These characteristics coincide with the paradoxes and contradictions of the modern experience. The overpowering processes of capitalism—industrialisation, secularisation, rationalisation, urbanisation and the consolidation of the nation-state—have resulted in an everyday life characterised by repetition, monotony and habit. Within this context, boredom is not only an index of an alternative sensibility to the values and visions of modernism but also a way of conceptualising history. To facilitate its analysis, three levels, or spaces, of complexity have been identified: the first refers to its structural properties as an individual disorder, the second contextualises boredom as a reality of the modern era, and the third lengthens its temporality as a historical threshold responsible for the possibilities of the future. This understanding is based on a juxtaposition of philosophical and critical elaborations on the modern by thinkers of the twentieth century, including Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, and Henri Lefebvre, and examinations on boredom done in retrospective by contemporary scholars, including Andrew Benjamin, Lars Svendsen, and Peter Toohey.

Keywords

Boredom Space Modernity 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oslo School of Architecture and DesignInstitute of Form, Theory and HistoryOsloNorway

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