The Idle Index is an exhibition and online project featuring screensavers created by artists based in, or with links to, Leicester.
Screensavers have persisted as a common feature of digital devices long after their original purpose – to protect screens from burn-in – has become obsolete.
While some systems still utilise them for practical purposes such as security, they serve for most as a reminder of our own inactivity – acting as prompts to continue working, browsing, watching or shopping.
The Idle Index repurposes the screensaver to explore ideas of work, boredom, leisure and usefulness
Artists Gino Attwood, Dan Cowlam, Anoushka Goodwin, Khush Kali, Ashok Mistry, Jas Singh, Antonio Roberts and Kühle Wampe have been commissioned to make new screensavers for the 2020 edition of The Idle Index.
The screensavers work through our free browser extension. This is compatible with Chrome, and available through the Chrome Web Store.
Download The Idle Index Browser Extension
We’ve recorded a short installation guide here.
The extension allows users to select screensavers to activate during moments of online idleness, and also includes pieces from the 2019 and 2018 editions of this project.
A gallery exhibition of The Idle Index will be launched when Phoenix is able to reopen to the public.
You can preview the screensavers and find out more about each piece below. Audio-described versions of each work are also linked.
We have released the code behind the browser extension as an open source template on Github. Releasing this template allows anyone to create and publish their own online screensaver-based projects.
The Idle Index was part of Leicester Art Week 2020 a festival of online events and exhibitions taking place across the city from 20 Nov to 29 Nov.