Art Despite Everything

16—25 June 2023

University of Exeter
MA Curation

Do Nothing

DO NOTHING reflects upon the recent Japanese phenomenon of a "low desire society" which has emerged as a reaction against the workplace culture of "Shachiku", where an employee is completely subservient to their company, never complaining about overwork or any other issues; a wage slave.

Curator & Artist

With an undergraduate background in Economics, I have since worked with a private art gallery practice in my hometown of Chengdu, Sichuan, China, as well as a period of internship in 

Shenzhen and a collaboration with the artist Cang Xin's art project, The Teeth Altar. I decided to come to the UK to study curation at Exeter. My main focus was to work with local artists and to be involved in helping to develop artistic activities. So during my internship, I worked on the 2023 curatorial Art Vending Machine project in Exeter and also undertook a placement at Art Work Exeter. I gained an insight into how local artists and festivals communicate with each other and how large-scale projects are carried out.

These two terms represent the extremes of today's 21st-century consumer society. In 2017, Japanese scholar Kenichi Ohmae noted in his book The Low Desire Society that "Japanese youth no longer want to take risks and debts, lose their desire for material things, success, marriage, children, and even sexuality, and turn away from fashion, from designer brands, from buying cars, from drinking, and even from falling in love." 

The DO NOTHING project will feature two related performance works. The first references the suffocating feeling of queuing for a simulated interview and the second is the feeling of nothingness, lying in bed. A choice-making process in the first performance is the only way to find out if you can go on to take part in the second. The basic tenet of DO NOTHING is that it does not matter whether you decide to do something or nothing. The project gives the audience an option; they are not forced or purposefully directed to make a decision.

Do Nothing1 Guolin