READING + EVENT | On ‘restivism’

On restivism [activism+rest]
Restivism is a critical attitude and an ever-evolving practice to effect positive change without compromising our mental and physical health in the process. It is both about self-care and collective care, emphasizing the importance of individual wellbeing as key to sustaining communal organizing and social networks. Restivism is a form of resistance towards grinding culture, and it rejects the view that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Therefore, restivism is a mode of world-building aiming at generating post-capitalist behaviors whilst slowly dismantling the current neoliberal system. 

Restivist Sauna | link to the event


This event provides a moment of recreation and leisure for local artists and other marginalized groups in the city of Aalborg, Denmark, and invites the public(s) to celebrate the importance of the city’s public and rest-oriented structures. They are an essential part of sustaining the social grounds of local artistic and social networks, whilst helping to create a more sustainable art and civil production in the city. This positioning is a political act that rejects capitalist ideals and responds to the financialization of both society and the art field. Moments of rest and leisure become radical forms of resistance for artists and others, working against a system of exploitation and precarity of artistic and reproductive labor. This call encourages us to challenge and disrupt a neoliberal system that feeds itself from hyperproductive grind culture in increasingly austere times. We must claim back our agency over our own time and bodies, and coordinate our cooperative energies in order to overcome current and future crises.


event soundtrack:
Nils Frahm – Liquid Radio




Photograph by Rikke Ehlers Nilsson
*intervened by Rodrigo Ghattas
more documentation here

The event takes critical inspiration from the history of ‘legendary’ spirit maker, artist, and leisure enthusiast Harald Jensen, who helped motivate culture, art, and recreation in Aalborg in the 19th century. In this event, I refer to this localized history as a frame to invite the public to experiencing restivism in the city – connecting art, leisure, and spirits.
read more about Harald Jensen

“Let us be restivists in everything, except in loving and drinking, except in being…”

Have you ever wondered how capitalism affects rest and health? Can we frame rest as a need and right, rather than an aid to hyper-production? Reclaiming time, rest and idleness as deeply political expressions of power is more urgent than ever.

“The hustle has been glorified,” and why are we the “chosen ones” to maintain the profitable nature of human existence in the 21st century? We must disarm grinding culture by foregrounding rest as a deeply political activity. Let’s not ever forget, long stigmatized and oppressed communities should be seated first row in this decolonial and energetic repair, however (I believe), ‘restivism’ should aim to decentralize this resistance practice through the building of collective consciousnesses, for everyone.

self-worth is not tied to our productivity!

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