Time Wasting Experiments

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

I recently came across a unique project called The Time Wasting Experiments by artist, Alyson Provax. I couldn't wait to find out more as I'm really fascinated by ongoing projects that utilise mundane, everyday moments, in thought-provoking and illuminating ways. Alyson has kindly agreed to a small interview on my blog, I hope you enjoy it. To see more of her work, visit her etsy shop and flickr account.

: : Tell us a few words about yourself …

I live in Portland, Oregon with my boyfriend Anthony Roberto. He and I just started a printmaking studio together in our basement, and you can find me there on most evenings, drinking tea and printing on my Chandler & Price Pilot, Alma.

: : Why did you start the Time Wasting Experiments?

It was honestly a kind of experiment. When I began the project I felt like I was wasting a lot of studio time and not producing enough work. My day job insists that I record my “billable hours,” and at some point there was a crossover: because I was accustomed to thinking about my time in blocks, I began noticing the amount of time I was spending on each of my specific anxieties and doubts. When I started this over two years ago, I thought it would be a two or three month long project. Continuing it this long has changed my perspective on the way that I spend time.

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

: : How would you describe the project in your own words?

The basis for the project is simple, I record all unique wastes of time with the duration of the initial inspiring event, and letterpress print a 5”x5” card describing it. Since I began this project the way that I define a waste of time has changed a lot. At that time I felt that all unproductive time was a waste, but my feelings on that have really changed. Now I define a waste of time as any situation that I feel was useless or uncomfortable and offered little or no redemption.
I should mention that the physical prints have become important to me as records, and as a way of naming all these amorphous unsatisfying experiences.

: : What artists/projects inspire you?

I am inspired by so many things! I love long range projects. I feel like there are things that an ongoing project can do that a single piece or short series just cannot. In terms of specific artists who have had an impact on my work, certainly Beth Campbell’s drawings, Kate Bingaman-Burt’s Obsessive Consumption project, and Andrea Zittel’s work have influenced my project.

: : What's your favourite time-wasting moment, and why?

The one that I have repeated the most is 0007, dreading the inevitable.

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

time wasting experiment

Thanks again Alyson.

P.S. I also did an interview over here. Thanks Angela, for asking me to participate.

All images copyright Alyson Provax.


Tana said...

This project is really interesting.i think not everybody counts time (and not everybody thinks about it at all) he spent mostly on usless ,unnecessary things, doubts,worries.Alyson turned it into a project that makes think more about it and notice how we spend time.i`m amazed!

Katie said...

I'm also super sensitive about time and perhaps even better at wasting it (and "wasting" is a completely subjective perception). I really like the idea, not so much the actual documentation but bigness of it all. So many ways to interpret and manipulate this idea!

Emily Vanessa said...

Such a brilliant idea and thanks so much Hila for introducing me to Alyson's work. These sentences she wrote really strike a chord with me but I'd never thought that such feelings or dread or hopelessness could sound so poetic or look so beautiful. I'm someone who tries to use every minute of the day and get as much out of life as possible but there are inevitably moments wasted and now I feel less bad.

Galit said...

Amazing! I was about to post about this project yesterday and ended up tweeting about it (great minds think alike?... :) that's wonderful!!) I didn't post mainly because I had the most un-productive day and I couldn't bring myself to accomplish a thing, so in a way, it was the best day to actually post about it... mmmm....
My favorite 'moment' is: 1 hour, 32 minutes comparing nearly identical options.. It captures my day yesterday in the most perfect way.

Enjoyed reading the interview and learning more about Alyson. She's an amazing creative lady.

P R I M O E Z A said...

it is fascinating - bringing to light what would mostly be left unconscious. like galit, i can say i've spent many hours comparing nearly identical options.

Olga said...

Thank you for introducing such an incredible means for an artist`s self expression. It`s very inspiring to try and adapt things to your own world instead of leaving them as they are.

anabela / fieldguided said...

Thank you for this! I love Alyson's work and I am so happy that I can look at it every day.

Niina said...

This is a second time I across her work in a very short period of time, I can´t remember where though. Then I for some reason didn´t give it a chance to affect, mainly because I too often don´t stop to think about time. Thank you for providing a window for this work! Those sentences above are very beautiful captions of something that is difficult to describe. I really admire her talent to do that. I can see this project a great outlet for artistic creation (and pressure to do that) which can take painfully lot of time.

Caitlin Rose said...

Sometimes I try to write a diary to record what I'm thinking, but I always give it up so quickly. This is a beautiful way of understanding our thoughts. I admire her ability to understand her own mind.

The Rambling Tart said...

what a brilliant and inspiring project. I don't know her at all but I want to hug her for such an open and honest revealing of the inner schedule of her mind.

odessa said...

great project! i also realized this during my spring break that most of all my stress comes from spending so much time anticipating the stress instead of starting to do something to change it.

gracia said...

57 minutes of unbearable anticipation.
Yes please!
3 minutes of making impossible plans.
I'll take some of that too.


sara said...

what a fantastic project. and a great little interview! thank you for sharing.

Christine said...

Fascinating! So great that you got to interview her. I should start noting how much time I waste on little things in order to keep things in perspective.

lizzie said...

what a fantastically interesting project. thanks for sharing...i'm in the billable hours phase and it's similar feeling...i'll definitely be ordering a print for my desk!

naomemandeflores said...

Having a Chandler & Price Pilot in my basement is an old dream of mine. Amazing project, I adore the "20 minutes avoiding an unpleasant task, with dread" print.

Camila F.

Molly said...

What an intriguing project… bringing insecurities of how we spend time to the spotlight on such beautifully letterpress printed cards. I can see how it has made her reevaluate what she considers "wasted time," just seeing these cards has really got me thinking too! I really do love "1 hour, 32 minutes comparing nearly identical options." So perfect.

nikaela marie said...

2 days staring into space when thesis' are supposed to be being written.

1 hour looking at blogs when i could be cleaning my kitchen.


time is a funny thing. i like this cause it almost makes wasting time seem like the best, lightest little parts of our days: when we realise our actual space in time.


Make it Easy said...

i love this!!!
my performance class did a similar workshop, where had to spend some time in the art building doing various random things : hiding, skipping, following someone, etc.
it was great! haha

gracia said...

(Two more days and I am ready to vote.)

tc said...

these are so very beautiful! i love the texture and to think of how universal it is to waste time. xx

hila said...

Thanks again to Alyson, I’m so glad you guys enjoyed this interview as much as I did!

Tana: I know, and it somehow makes me feel like the time I “waste” isn’t that wasteful.

Katie: I know what you mean – I keep thinking about how this project can be expanded in other ways.

Emily Vanessa: ironically though, those “wasted” hours often give me my best ideas, so I don’t feel that bad about it all either. And I agree, there is something a touch poetic and perhaps melancholic about this project.

Galit: ha, great minds think alike indeed! She is a pretty amazing lady. And thanks again Galit for suggesting I enter the Sydney Writers’ Centre blog competition – fingers crossed!

Primoeza: me too, I often feel ridiculous in those types of situations – glad to know I’m not alone :)

Olga: my pleasure, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Anabela: that’s wonderful, lucky you!

Niina: I first stumbled upon her work through etsy. I agree that it’s difficult to describe what’s so alluring about these sentences. I mean, they’re simple, but seem to hint at something far more complex and intricate.

Catiline rose: “I admire her ability to understand her own mind” – I couldn’t have said it better myself. It does take someone with an acute sense of self-reflection to create a project like this.

The rambling tart: I know, it’s kind of brave in a way, especially considering how difficult it is to be honest and vulnerable with strangers.

Odessa: I’m exactly the same! I worry about something and only later do I realise that the worrying was worse that the actual event :)

Gracia: me too, I’d take them both! And thanks so much for the vote!! I don’t like my chances, but the support from everyone is a prize in itself.

Sara: my pleasure!

Christine: yes, I sort of feel this project is all about perspective.

Lizzie: I think most of us know the feeling of “billable hours” :)

Camila: I would love one too, the only problem would be where I would put it – my house is filled with books everywhere :)

Molly: I totally agree with everything you’ve said. And yep, I love that print too, such a perfect way of putting it.

Nikaela marie: oh man can I empathise with this one: “2 days staring into space when thesis' are supposed to be being written”. Well, at least I could empathise a few years ago when I was doing my thesis. This is known as “thesis-guilt” :)

Make it easy: I wish I took the same classes as you when I was at university, it sounds great!

Tc: I think that’s why everyone is reacting to this project in such an immediate manner.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Excellent project. I like the way Alyson's way of defining wasted time has evolved during the project, proving even the time she thought was wasted, through this project, has actually helped her grow as a person. Very cool.

Tracey said...

That's such a brilliant idea for a project ... I know I definitely waste a lot of time in these kinds of ways.

PS. I read your interview - your answers are wonderful. I too dream of seeing the northern lights.

hila said...

denise: it is very cool, I love it when projects actually make you reconsider the way you go through life everyday from a different perspective.

tracey: me too, but maybe they're not such a waste of time after all? :)

thanks for reading the interview, I kept my answers short and sweet.