Busy Doing Nothing: Queer Anti-Work Experiments in Art, Film, and Life in the Cybernated 1960s


ACLS Fellowship Program


Art History and Archaeology


This book shows how LGBTQ+ artists in the United States responded to the pervasive 1960s discourse of “cybernation” by mobilizing demands for leisure and theorizing the inextricability of normative ideas of productivity and sexual identity. Cybernation referred to the integration of computer processing into automated systems of production and distribution. Proponents considered it a harbinger of an imminent work-free lifestyle, while detractors saw it as decadent, lazy, or un-American. The period’s Pop art, street photography, and underground cinema responded to cybernation discourse in a more radical way, using technical media to challenge notions of artistic and social fecundity. "Busy Doing Nothing" traces the ways both canonical and previously marginalized artists visualized alternatives to those dominant norms in imagined—and sometimes realized—queer utopias.