A Message to the Burnout Generation
If you take a scroll though the Instagram hashtags #hustlehard or #riseandgrind, you will notice a clear pattern amongst all the posts - it is not enough for my generation to work hard; we work until we burn out. I created A Message to the Burnout Generation to show people my age why it is not worth it to get sucked into workaholic culture, nor is it something we should glamourise. I feel that my generation should not be destined to an unhealthy life of burnout, all the while pretending to enjoy it on social media.
The 24/7 exhibition at Somerset House, shown in February 2020, had a significant influence on my project. The exhibition created a space that delivered the feelings of anxiety and fatigue that are associated with a nonstop, 24/7 lifestyle. This led me to focus on recreating the overwhelming feelings of stress caused by burnout in my own work, using stimuli such as fluorescent colours and fast video clips to achieve this.
My original project plan included a large screen-printed banner displaying statements I had collected from Instagram, which all supported burnout and “hustle culture”. However, I no longer had access to the screen-printing studio when the art school closed due to covid-19. Since the banner was no more, I instead incorporated the statements into another element of my project - a video simulating the day-to-day anxiety of a person experiencing burnout.
To incorporate my personal outlook into the project, I created Can You Unlearn Burnout?, a compilation of journal entries, pictures, and other snippets providing insight into my own relationship with stress and burnout throughout the course of this project.