NIKSEN is a really personal project, where I confront myself with the challenges of these times, and I reflect on how my life is impacted by the constant buzzing and whirring of “busy-ness”. NIKSEN is the Dutch verb for: actively doing nothing. This project started in my second year, when I wanted to write a manifesto about something that I found so important that I would create a long-term project about. Thinking of the times we are living in, I quickly discovered ‘NIKSEN’ in article in the New York Times1 about the ‘activity of not doing‘ where the Dutch supposedly should be good at. At the time I was at the busiest part of the dual degree, and working two jobs next to it. I had to change something in my life and thus my NIKSEN project was started. NIKSEN is a protest against the consumerist society where “being busy” is seen like a value if not even a virtue. This project questions the values of capitalist society and the usage of electronic devices like the smartphone by exploring the act of not doing anything.
About the originator:
My name is Jabe Sverre Oost, I like asking questions, putting up metaphorical mirrors, playing with humour, irony and absurdism in my creative practice. I work with different mediums, mainly with: performance, photography, sound, audio-visual, writing, research and all other curious ways of making that cross my path.
Why we need NIKSEN in our lives:
Generally speaking, our culture does not promote sitting still, and that can have wide-reaching consequences for our mental
health, well-being, productivity and other areas of our lives. Technology doesn’t make it any easier: The smartphone you carry
with you at all hours makes it almost impossible to truly unplug and embrace idleness. (new york times, 'the case for doing nothing')
The ‘rules’ of NIKSEN:
- Find a place where you can allow yourself to put away digital technology: no phones, internet or screens
- Enable yourself to accept to do NIKSEN for an undecided amount of time
- Accept the awkwardness of silence, the itch to do something, or the notorious FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Try not to think of work or productivity
- Try to stop consuming, or to fetishise busyness
What is NIKSEN to you?
Create a method for yourself to ‘NIKSEN’.
Your place, pace and time.
Doing nothing is okay and necessary sometimes.
Take time to contemplate, reflect on your self, how you are doing.
When you start losing sense of time, you’re on the right path.