Interesting Cancelled, Boring Conference A Success

Interesting Cancelled, Boring Conference A Success

Blogger James Ward hosts first-annual Boring 2010 conference in London for those fascinated with tedium.

John Ryan
  • 4 january 2011

When Londoner James Ward noticed Russell Davies had cancelled his annual Interesting conference, he jokingly proposed a Boring conference take its place. To Ward’s surprise, response to Boring 2010 was enthusiastic with 200 people paying to hear 20 different lectures on boring subjects from milk tasting to sneeze record-keeping. Ward maintains the appropriately-titled I Like Boring Things blog devoted to tedious projects like studying the comparative prices and stocking conditions of Cadbury Twirls across London during 2009 or collecting used collections of used postcards or remixing the sound effects intros to 80s hit singles to absurd lengths.

While Ward conducts his boredom studies with dry, prankster humor, other Boring 2010 participants find boredom an antidote to an overstimulated culture:

Journalist and author Naomi Alderman spoke about the difficulty of having to observe the Jewish Sabbath as a child. Her talk, “What It’s Like to Do Almost Nothing Interesting for 25 Hours a Week,” ended on an unexpected, touching note. “When we learn to tolerate boredom,” she said, “we find out who we really are.”

Elsewhere, others are finding inspiration in being bored. Speaking to Ars Technica, programmer James Whelton describes his ongoing mission to hack the Ipod Nano as the “project of boredom.”

Boring 2010

Wall Street Journal: “Boredom Enthusiasts Discover Pleasure of Understimulation”

Photo by James Ward, I Like Boring Things

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