The boudoir, the desk & the couch : Histories, practices and speculations on labour

5. Just Do It

This chapter explores the blurred boundaries between work and leisure entangling the sources of the social, political and cultural stigma of leisure as laziness. The couch as symbol of both idleness and exhaustion intersects with cultural imaginaries of unemployment, decadent aristocrats and mental illness. From the rest cure to the work cure, psychotherapy and medication treating burnout, work has been the pharmakon for exhaustion, presented both as its cause and its antidote.

Image reference: Pieter Jalhea Furnius Luiheid, “Zeven doodzonden”, 1550-1625.


* a clip that is used in 12’11” contains a racial slur


00’00”  Pete Seeger “Eight-Hour Day”

01’33”    Dolly Parton “9 To 5” 

02’35”  Quoted from E. Kerr, “Eight Hours Too Many?” in Abolish Work, 2000  p.38

03’08”  Clip from CBS, “Chinese workers are starting to rebel against “9-9-6” culture” 

04’15”   Michael Gray “The Weekend” 

05’06”  Billy Bragg and The Blokes “St Monday”

06’25”  The Bangles “Manic Monday” 

07’59”  Schaffner Anna Katharina,  Exhaustion: A History, 2016  p.34-35 read by Laurence Henriquez

09’37”  Quoted from Schaffner Anna Katharina, Exhaustion: A History, 2016  p.36

10’40”  Van Morrison “All work and no play”

12’11”   Clip from Joel and Ethan Coen, The Big Lebowski, 1998

13’33”  The Silhouettes “Get a Job”

15’32”   Nixon Discusses Welfare, 1968 

17’52”  Macka B “The Unemployment Blues” 

19’36”  Karl Marx, “Different Forms of the Relative surplus population. The General Law of Capitalistic Accumulation” chapter 25, section 4 Capital Volume One read by Roozbeh Seyedi

21’47”  Rihanna “Work” 

22’55”   Quoted from Joseph Townsend, A Dissertation on the Poor Laws, 1786

23’58”  Eddie Cochran “Nervous Breakdown”

26’16”  Schaffner Anna Katharina, Exhaustion: A History, 2016 p.142 read by Alison Henriquez

27’19”  Wiz Khalifa “Work Hard Play Hard”

29’17”   Quoted from Ben Harris, Courtney Stevens, “From rest cure to work cure”, May 2010, Vol 41, No. 5

29’32”  Jungle “Busy Earnin'” 

30’50”  Schaffner Anna Katharina, Exhaustion: A History, 2016  p.47 read by Rosa Palmer

31’20”  LaBeouf, Ronko, Turner “Just Do It (Make Your Dreams Come True)” [Ultimate Remix]

32’25”  Quoted from Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, “Repression, Expression, Depression”, The Guattari-Effect, 2011   p.189

33’09”  Schaffner Anna Katharina, Exhaustion: A History, 2016  p.7 read by Jo Willoughby

34’00” Clip from Michael Moore, Roger and Me, 1989

36’29” Adam Szymanski, “The Neuroplastic Paradox”, Inflexions 10, 2017  p. 88-89 read by Ash Kilmartin

37’56”  The Beatles, “I am so Tired”

39’20” Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, After the Future, 2011 pp.138 read by Tracy Hanna

40’30” Travis Scott “Overdue” (slowed & reverbed)

41’54”  Quoted from Dave Laing, One Chord Wonders, 2015  p.44

42’10”  The Clash “Career Opportunities”

42’59”  Quoted from Peter Frase, “Redefininig Work” 


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