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The Glorious Potential of Boredom

20
Sep
Will Alsop PaintingDetail

In advance of Sunday's sermon by visionary architect Will Alsop, we grabbed five minutes to ask him a few questions about his underlying thoughts on the subject of boredom.

You’ve remarked that if a company keeps its employees working as a rule, that’s bad management. What's your working style, and how does it stop you from getting bored? And in keeping your employees and clients inspired? What role does your drawing wall play in that?
Good management of people means total openness and never asking them to do things both you know and they know are a waste of time. The role of the drawing wall allows all to see a hint of what’s going on.
You’ve argued that “if a society is creating spaces where people are happy to sit and do nothing, it’s doing something right”. [Please correct quote if this isn’t right.] How would you answer those who say that in reality such places mainly collect the marginalised and socially lost (in the case of public spaces) or the passive and unthinking (in the case of entertainment spaces)? What kind of spaces for doing nothing do you want to create?
Strange that it’s difficult to sit in a public space and do nothing, as they have moved all the benches, at the expense of street cafes where you have to pay to sit and do nothing.

How would you best describe boredom of the creative kind?

WA: To have sufficient time to do nothing and not worry about it. It is never boring.

Do you think today we feel pressured to fill our spare time with activities rather than use rare and valuable empty time to take time to pause and reflect? 

WA:  For people of all ages, there would appear to be an increasing sense of guilt if you are not filling all the hours of the day with something that so-called society feels is of value.

You’ve suggested that good taste and refined style are boring in a bad way. Why? 

WA: The idea of taste and style are boring in a bad way because these are values that are imposed by so-called experts/tastemakers promoted by the media and simply act as a crutch for the mentally lethargic.

You’ve remarked that if a company keeps its employees working as a rule, that’s bad management. What's your working style, and how does it stop you from getting bored? And in keeping your employees and clients inspired? What role does your drawing wall play in that?

WA: Good management of people means total openness and never asking them to do things both you know and they know are a waste of time. The role of the drawing wall allows all to see a hint of what’s going on.

You’ve argued that “if a society is creating spaces where people are happy to sit and do nothing, it’s doing something right”.  

WA:  Strange that it’s difficult to sit in a public space and do nothing, as they have moved all the benches, at the expense of street cafes where you have to pay to sit and do nothing.


Will Alsop will be delivering his secular Sunday Sermon on the subject of Boredom at Conway Hall this Sunday.  For more details click here. Check out www.alsoparchitects.com for his inspiring architectural designs.

Main Image:  Detail from painting (untitled) by Will Alsop.

Posted by The School of Life on 20 September 2012

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