Getting In Touch with T(n)C

IMPAKT Exhibition In Touch

T(n)C was founded in 2017 by Agnes Varnai and Tina Kult. In their interdisciplinary work, they experiment with Virtual Reality, installations, film and more. In the video series Retraining Laziness, they present a conversation between a robot and a human, exploring our relationship to work, technology and time.

Retraining Laziness features texts taken from a wide range of sources, such as historian André Rauch, YouTube comments and Elon Musk. How did you decide on these sources?

Our work processes always begin with the creation of an extensive research board. Here we collect a variety of images and texts that not only inspire us, but also set the tone for the work and visual language. During the research for Retraining Laziness, various topics such as self-optimisation, burnout and laziness led us in different directions.

We intensively scoured self-help forums on the Internet where people either seek support for overwork or give tips from their own experience on how to best manage their work-life balance, and we looked at the comments on YouTube videos dealing with the question of self-worth in our economical system. At the same time, we looked at various philosophical approaches to leisure and boredom. When developing the dialogue for the short films, it was particularly exciting for us to work with a few selected passages from these sources. We came across Elon Musk’s tweet ‘Nobody Ever Changed the World Working 40 Hours a Week’ through meme platforms.

The text passages that we finally integrated into the dialogue were oriented towards the development of the characters.

In the context of your work you talk about “dryness”? Can you explain what the term means and why you focus on it?

Our understanding of the term ‘dryness’ is multi-layered. Burnout, forest fires, withering crops or a heating atmosphere are real threats. But there are also more fictional or futuristic layers, such as the doomsday scenario of a growing sun that will soon consume the earth. By referencing the present, we paint dystopian (future) scenarios in which the exploitation of the earth and people is highlighted. The world we describe seems to have literally “dried up” and the inhabitants are left in a state of desolation. We try to address questions of justice and solidarity in the context of consumption, production relations or access to various resources.

In your practice as a collective you express the interest in “expanding the practices of collective storytelling”. What is the collective in this sense?

In this context, the collective signifies the notion of shared creation through persistent discourse and the perpetual expansion of our conceptual boundaries. We foster unity within our group and seek partnerships with individuals across diverse disciplines. In doing so we establish connections, engage in mutual learning, confront and actively explore the intersection of different perspectives.

The story of Retraining Laziness subverts common science fiction narratives of robot disobedience. What do you think would be the best way to deal with a robot uprising?

If robots decide to rebel in laziness, we could simply understand their revolution as an invitation to join the freedom of idleness!

The other artists we are Getting In Touch with are Paula Nishijima, Studio Above&Below, Me AndOther Me and Nadja Verena Marcin.

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