On this evening Research Master students from the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) collaborate with students from the University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU) to critically examine old and current practices of leisure and entertainment.
The evening starts with a cinematic experience that includes performances, glitches and interactive features reflecting on the current practices of leisure and entertainment. A Chevrolet commercial instructing us on ‘how to go places’ introduces the issues examined this evening, such as the commercialization of leisure and the regulation of our spare time practices. Cleverly juxtaposing old and new practices of leisure and entertainment, the first remix video On the Mediation of Leisure produced by students from the University of Amsterdam will further reflect on these current practices of the regulation and mediation of entertainment and raises the question where we might still escape these pre-determined forms of leisure.
As entertainment these days cannot do without some form of interactivity, the audience will be called upon to be involved in determining the next screening. A performance titled Comments for the Bored will simulate an online forum to reflect on issues of boredom. What constitutes boredom and what still makes us feel entertained today? Why do we desperately seek to avoid boredom and how we do escape it?
After this small intermezzo another remix video composed of archive material will be screened that reflects on the blurring boundaries between work and play. Through its accelerating pace it conveys the argument that even our leisure practices, as excessive and dizzying as they may be, are ultimately in the service of labour: to regenerate us for another day of work. A reading of a metaphorical tale by a Chinese philosopher that stresses the value of being completely useless will invite you to reflect further on this issue. In our current society where work and the production of value have shifted away from traditional modes of labour and standard work hours, into 24/7 online profiles and value-generating leisure activities – how and where can we still be completely ‘worthless’?
After this cinematic event, we will move to the exposition space where installations by the students from the HKU addressing similar topics can be explored. A living room setting, but not quite the same, asks just how far we are willing go for some entertainment, reflecting the drastic transformation of leisure and relaxation in the age of accelerating technological innovation. Inviting visitors to make creative shadow images with their bodies while other visitors may document the creations, the installation Shadow Play explores the boundaries between rules and freedom, creativity and social behaviour, and public sharing and privacy. Lastly, the long awaited installation The Entertainment Booth plays with the power of anticipation: what’s there to see inside, remains a secret. You will need to find out for yourself.