The fear of boredom



Publication Details

Buchanan, I. (2017). The fear of boredom. In P. De Assis & P. Giudici (Eds.), The Dark Precursor: Deleuze and Artistic Research (pp. 471-480). The Netherlands: Leuven University Press.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Leuven University Press


No other public building excites as much fear and anxiety as an airport. No other building exemplifies more acutely Sartre's cruel judgement that "hell is other people". It is a leviathan space in which everyone fights tooth and claw not to be held up and forced to wait. Now that the online universe of working, shopping, banking, and living has created smooth spaces in which to conduct our lives without ever having to encounter another actual human being, the airport is one of the last places in the first world where crowds are still encountered and queuing is still a necessity (entertainment complexes such as art galleries, cinemas, and theme parks are the only other places where one is likely to queue). And it was of course the queue that denoted the disintegration of society into seriality for Sartre. Experienced travellers know that there is something worse to fear than mere queuing, namely delayed or cancelled flights, but it is essentially the same anxiety: the fear of waiting and more especially the corresponding fear of boredom the waiting will entail.

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