The Boring Exhibition by Dawn Parsonage


Dawn Parsonage has been collecting found photography for over 20 years, amassing a collection of over 10,000 images. Dawn curates these found photographs as well uses them as inspiration for her own work. Her collection of found photography posed the question: Is it even possible to become bored now? And is it possible to capture boredom on camera in an age where people are so image-conscious?

This is what inspired the contemporary boring portrait project. Working with psychologists, Dawn constructed a series of experiments to explore the idea of coaxing people into boredom. The three experiments each used different methods to achieve bored states:

1. An Endless Loop
The sitter is made to listen to a boring speech on a short loop.

2. Time Perception
The subject is alone with a loudly ticking clock which only has an hour hand and is, in fact, running at half speed. Time appears to be going slower than normal, drawing out their experience, coaxing a bored state.

3. Pain vs. Boredom
A recreation of Dr Erin C Westgate and Dr Timothy D Wilsons electrification experiment where subjects stay in a quiet room, where they could shock themselves to relieve their boredom. The experiment explores the lengths to which people will go to get relief from boredom.

The experiments were devised with help from social phycologist Dr Erin C Westgate of Ohio University, who conducted the original electrocution experiment and Adam Mastroianni PhD student in psychology at Harvard University as well as the book ‘The Science of Boredom’, Dr Sandi Mann.

“Dawn Parsonage’s “Boring Exhibition” brilliantly highlights the private struggles we all face when bored – the struggle to find meaning, to find ways to occupy our restless minds – and shares these intimate and often funny moments with the rest of us. The result is charming, deeply human – and definitely not boring.”
– Dr Erin C Westgate, Social Psychologist, Ohio State University.

Metro Imaging have been working closely with the artist since the birth of the project as the primary production partners, producing high-resolution scans, Bespoke C-type, and B&W Silver Gelatin prints. Dawn Parsonage’s first solo exhibition playfully explores boredom through photography, film and interaction via her found photography and newly created body of work. Don’t miss this unique show. You’ll either love it or be bored, each way it’s a win.

Exhibition Details
Private View: 26th June 6-9pm
Please RSVP:​

Exhibition Continues: 27th June – 6th July 2019
Bermondsey Project Space, London SE1 3UW

The exhibition has also received support from Dulux Paint, Intrepid Cameras, and Bright Rooms.

ALL IMAGES courtesy of Dawn Parsonage, 2019.