as i prepare to re-launch the arterie [blog] after nearly a year hiatus, i am left thinking not just about the passage of time, but about how we both spend and waste time. granted, since i last posted i completed, defended, and submitted a master's thesis on representations of the cancerous body in medical discourse and contemporary art; packed up my apartment in two weeks and drove across the country in a bush-ready 1995 Jeep YJ pulling a U-Haul trailer with my partner and our cat -- an extended adventure during which we broke down in the Canadian prairies three times; arrived in Montreal in an empty apartment the day before i started my PhD with none of my belongings while also having to part from my boyfriend and best friend, who was starting a forestry program in our home province of Ontario, for a year of long-distance after five years of living together and intimately sharing each other's daily lives; and successfully completed a year of graduate coursework in art history in addition to serving as co-president of my department's Graduate Student Association (GSA) as well as a member of our conference committee (The Indiscernible), and preparing submissions to conferences and journals. in the midst of all this craziness, i have somehow found time to pursue my love and the art of making things by hand with the goal of launching my Etsy shop(s) in May 2011. and yet, despite all of these achievements (i am still apprehensive to call them that), i still feel like i have wasted time. like i could have done more, been more productive and focussed and less distracted. or, in perhaps doing too much, i could have taken better care of myself or achieved that truly unattainable thing: balance.
and so this brings me to the real topic of this post: Alyson Provax's brilliant time wasting experiment, an ongoing project in which the artist documents the exact time wasted on various activities and non-activities in a series of letterpress prints. driven by a "compulsion to always be doing things and producing objects," -- one that i full heartedly share -- she also conceives of the prints as permission slips allowing us to thoughtfully spend periods of time in wasteful ways. in other words, it is ok to spend time thinking about nothing or working through overwhelming and even embarrassing emotions. sometimes we need to be able to do "nothing" and not feel bad or guilty about it. there is, after all, unparalleled magic in daydreaming and imagining. it's how ideas take root.
visit Alyson's Etsy shop for your own time wasting permission slip, or read more about her project and what the artist has to say here and here.
all images copyright Alyson Provax.