With ‘Conceptual Boredom,’ an Agency Artistically Captures Life in Lockdown

Melancholy meets metaphor in M&C Saatchi's project encouraging donations to medical workers

Two creatives who work at M&C Saatchi's London office created visuals about the emotional impact of quarantine. M&C Saatchi

It’s easy for life in lockdown to feel stifling. Our lives were once full of variety, but now the days go by in an endless cycle of home working, home schooling, cooking, washing up, cleaning, and, somehow, cooking and washing up again.

Ad agency M&C Saatchi captures this claustrophobic whirlwind of daily chores in a new photography series, Conceptual Boredom.

Creative duo Camila Gurgel and Ieva Paulina, who are from Brazil and Latvia respectively and work in the agency’s London office, conceived and developed the series using everyday objects to create surreal, abstract scenarios that bring to life the boredom of lockdown.

They used saturated color and slightly vintage style to give the photos, which are being shared Instagram, a sense of melancholy and nostalgia as well as humor.

The project aims to raise funds for the U.K.’s NHS workers, who are on the front line of the country’s coronavirus fight back, via a GoFundMe page and who, the creatives say, do not have the privilege of being bored.

Gurgel, who is a senior copywriter at the agency, and Paulina, a senior art director, will create and post new images throughout lockdown, encouraging people to donate.

“This project is a documentation of lockdown life, viewed through creative eyes, where we start to see things around us, in our homes and in ourselves, from a different perspective,” Camila Gurgel said.

“It explores how we’re relating to objects in a deeper way than ever before, how we merge with our homes and our stuff, and how we can turn boredom into art.”

The project is created with self-awareness by the artists about how the frustration of staying home is extremely minor in comparison to the struggles of those facing Covid-19 on the front lines.

“Our amazing NHS staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to save lives, staying away from their homes and families. Meanwhile, we’re complaining about having to play Monopoly again,” Paulina said. “We’re lucky that boredom is our biggest problem during this time, so we thought we should use our privilege to help those working on the front line, who don’t have time to be bored.”

@saramayspary sara.spary@adweek.com Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.