“Subjectivity in the ‘Gig Economy’: From the Entreprecariat to Base Union Militancy” by Jamie Woodcock

This contribution by Jamie Woodcock is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

Contemporary work has been transformed. This can be seen most sharply with the rise of the so-called “gig economy”, which involves workers tying together of different forms of short term and unreliable work in order to make ends meet. Instead of long-term (or even reasonably short-term) work contracts, contemporary employment is becoming more precarious and increasingly mediated in a digital context. These kinds of arrangements are facilitating the rise of the Entreprecariat, which ‘refers to the reciprocal influence of an entrepreneurialist regime and pervasive precarity.’[1] The entrepreneurialist regime is an ideological construction that promises freedom – often pitched as flexibility – achieved through sheer willpower and hard work. It builds upon the idea of Homo Economicus – that people are rational and self-interested agents who will seek to maximise their own utility and profit. It is an attempt to convince workers that their own conditions are not due to the structure of society, but solely down to their own agency. Take, for example, a recent advert from Fiverr – the ‘Freelance Services Marketplace for The Lean Entrepreneur’[2] – featured a portrait of a gaunt and tired-looking worker with the following text:

You eat a coffee for lunch.
You follow through on
your follow through. Sleep
deprivation is your drug of
choice. You might be a doer.

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Some Thoughts on “The Medium is the Mirror” by Sebastian Koseda

Jonas Berthod asked me on Twitter if I have any thoughts on the article “The Medium is the Mirror: Automation in Visual Communication” by Sebastian Koseda, recently published by Creative Review. Despite the fresh 280 characters limit, I’m not able to compress my notes into tweets, so here they are.

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That’s a Good Idea by Melissa Mesku

This contribution by Melissa Mesku is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

Here’s a drinking game: every time you hear someone say “there should be an app for that,” take a drink. Not drunk enough yet? Then ask someone, anyone, whether they have an idea for an app. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get a good idea out of them. But that’s not the drinking game. That’s just the set up. The game starts after you have all these good ideas swirling around in your head. Then you sit at the bar and wonder whether you’re going to finally do something with all these good ideas until you get too drunk and morose to go on. That’s the game. I didn’t say it was a good game, but it is pretty popular. You can even play it with friends. If it were an app it’d be number one on Google Play.

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I Hate This Celebratory Genre of “Be on the Constant Verge of Death under Late Capitalism” by Priya Prabhakar

This tweet by Priya Prabhakar is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

Original tweet: https://twitter.com/priyavprabhakar/status/873899548866789376

 

Linkedin Society on Modes of Criticism 3

Modes of Criticism 3, a beautiful publication edited by Francisco Laranjo on design and criticism, is out. This issue, dedicated to the relationships between design and democracy and published by Onomatopee, includes an essay of mine on the competitive aesthetics of Linkedin’s previous user experience, which became history when the site was redesigned to align with the convivial regime of dominant platform like Facebook and Google. Here’s an introduction to the piece.

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Invention Matrix III. Grand Motor Roller Coaster by Olivier Fournout (translation by Ian Monk)

This contribution by Olivier Fournout and translated by Ian Monk is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

To gather material about the future of work, the members of Futur Lab, a think tank charged with imagining the world of 2050, attend symposiums, read books and articles, consult web pages, then smooth them out into a discourse. They recycle them into a documentary slam, an inner monologue, a Flarf poetry file. It can be seen as a collage of fragments of reality. It extracts phrases from different media, producing a diatext of ideas that have been received, read or heard in the public space. It filters out a sample of the world’s prose.

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Programmers Wannabe by eeefff

This contribution by eeefff is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

Minsk. We are late for our “labour inspection” in one of the biggest IT companies in Belarus.
Trying to catch a taxi.

“To Wargaming? For the first time? I go there every day. Near the subway there is a honey hole. Just drove up and again someone goes there… Tell me, becoming a programmer at 40 is probably hopeless, right? In general, are there 40 years old programmers? Or are they all becoming startuppers at 33?” he says while we are forcing our way through traffic jams.

“In general, I think that Belarus is a country of people who would like to become programmers. As one friend of mine says ‘We are all programmers Wannabe’,” he laughs.

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Specious Books by Dicey Studios

This contribution by Dicey Studios is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

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#JOBS by Juliette Cezzar

This contribution by Juliette Cezzar is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

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A Tale of 3 Coffees by Phil N/A

This text by Phil N/A is part of the special issue of the Pervasive Labour Union zine on the Entreprecariat. Read it here and download it for free as PDF or EPUB.

Coffee #1 stares back from its thick, semi-spherical container. No milk to adulterate its primordial blackness, its motherly embrace. Cheeky grains oscillate, leaving a brownish trail as they float.
Their words oscillate also, on the frighteningly thin line between “You’re convincing on an intellectual level” and “I can tell you’re way more invested in this than I care to disprove you.”
My face must look pale, so they ask me if I’m troubled by all the terrorism, people dying quite often now. I am not, I just haven’t had the chance to drink my coffee yet.
Caffeine and its promise of delusion are very important, for if you stare into the phd the phd stares back into you. What it sees is about as empty as your cup, just before you say bye, shove your papers in your backpack and venture into the light rain.
Supervision meetings can be inspiring at times, others frustrating, occasionally dreadful. The above has been a case of the Ds.
Caffeine, however, I was saying, is enough to delude you back into focus and self-confidence, with crisp goals and research questions planted firm into your head.
It reminds me I am a man of difficulties rather than problems, and that even when I spread my ideas too thin, when I spread them invisible, there are still ways to communicate them.
Coffee #1 is often all it takes to conjure up visions that, if not bright, are at least vivid. They’re at least not ∞.

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