“Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr”. Notes on Bruce O’Neill’s "The Space of Boredom"
Bruce O’Neill describes homeless men and women in Bucharest who could not navigate the downward spiral which followed the meltdown of the state-run economy after 1989. Deprived of the culturally treasured anchors of work, home, and family, and unable to participate in anything recognizably meaningful, these individuals are forced into a position of malignant contemplation, even when busy surviving. It is an experience of paralyzed restlessness which resonates with the ruins they zigzag through.
The Space of Boredom captures this landscape convincingly, and in elegant prose. The book moves effortlessly from the discussion of scholarly works in a number of fields, to observation of sometimes cinematic quality. It is well argued, abundantly researched, and clear about its theoretical assumptions. If some questions remain to be answered, at least to this reader, this may be an artifact of background. Assumptions, including important ones about the nature of affects, and about boredom itself, may not be shared. Some questions of this kind will be raised in the following.
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