We, the Doers – Fiverr’s Entrepreneurial Populism and a 3-Days Workweek

Fiverr, the online marketplace that connects freelancers to the "lean entrepreneur", recently launched a new campaign under the hashtag #InDoersWeTrust. The accompanying commercial features the lives of some of these doers. They make Skype calls with the other side of the world ("Ni Hao Ma") from a restroom, they unremittingly pitch their business to family, friends and strangers, they "get shit done" and are constantly available, even while they’re having sex. The portrayed doers are white and mostly female, even though the one ending up on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine is a young man.

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Not Usually a Design Guy but Geez

We, Western people clinging to the middle class, live in a time of depoliticization. The prevailing form of political engagement is well illustrated by the "Not usually a sign guy but geez" sign. It’s a reactive (and sometimes reactionary), "this is too much" politics. Unfortunately, knowing what one doesn’t want is not enough. Throughout the whole presidency of Donald Trump, people were supposed to congregate at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York to deliver the words "he will not divide us", while being live-streamed. This live-stream was ingeniously shut down several times by far-right trolls.

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Diversifying My Business

No need to say that I consider myself an instance of the entreprecariat. At the bottom of this post, in my bio, I identify as “artist, designer and researcher”. While I actually had love stories –or flirts– with these realms, I don’t feel I fully belong. It turns out that my skills are softer than I expected. And I have the impression that many people feel the same. Maybe this is why impostor syndrome is so common among my peers. So why do I use those labels? To “diversify my business”, of course. To appear palatable to potential galleries, cultural institutions or clients. Yes, I have a relatively stable job (who knows for how long), but what you see here is the result of reading and writing in my spare time, during the weekends, after dinner, or while I commute. I guess this affects my tone of writing, making it hopefully more colloquial, friendly. I’m not ashamed nor I’m complaining of my situation. As everyone, I have these moments when I question the purpose of what I do, I ask myself whether I honestly care or I’m just pumping up my ego. One thing is certain, saying things as they are is somehow soothing, therapeutic. It feels good.


She’s Lost Control — On Paula Scher and Unpaid Work

On AIGA’s Eye on Design blog there is a new series called Design + Money. Its first article, design writer Perrin Drumm raises the vexed question of unpaid work. According to Drumm, one shouldn’t always get paid for their work. The apology of some specific instances of upaid labor is backed by Paula Scher, the graphic design giant portrayed in the first season of Abstract, Netflix’s new docuseries on design. Scher’s main argument is that unpaid gigs offer "total creative control over a project".

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Overnight or Night is Over — F.lux and the Absolute Temporality of the Internet

The computer is first and foremost a calculator. Among the main things it calculates, and thus measures, there is the passage of time. As a result, our laptops and mobile phones are also chronometers. But what kind of time do they take into account? On the first startup, these devices immediately require the local time zone, so that they can connect to the internet and automatically synchronize with the other ones in the network. This connection doesn’t only imply a cancellation of spatial distance but also the possibility of experiencing a sort of telematic jet lag: we wake up and chat with a friend who lives twelve hours away and is already at the end of their day. Sunrise and sunset are merged by means of network dynamics, they are obfuscated.

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What Design Can’t Do — Graphic Design between Automation, Relativism, Élite and Cognitariat

"The thing that pisses me off the most is the degradation of the intellectual role of the designer." This is what my friend tells me, as we listen to each other’s anguished outpourings replete with VAT numbers, freelancing and short-term contracts. And that made me wonder what constitutes that role, whether it actually existed, how it vanished and what replaced it. Trying to answer these questions, I’d like to focus on graphic design as it is the field where I come from, and I believe it represents a paradigmatic case within the so-called creative industries.

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A Hauntology of Precarity

Lately, I’ve been trying to clarify the meaning of the precarious condition. So, I started collecting a series of definitions of the terms "precarity", "precarious" and "precariat". Like the one by Guy Standing on The Guardian, which aptly emphasizes the act of feeling something ("The precariat consists of those who feel their lives and identities are made up of disjointed bits"). Or the one by Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, who focuses on the inability to grasp, to understand ("Precarious is person who is able to know nothing about one’s own future").

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Trentenne precario si suicida

Un trentenne precario si ammazza lasciando alle spalle una lettera aperta. Per quel che ne so potrebbe addirittura essere falsa, ma la rabbia e la disillusione che essa esprime fanno indubbiamente parte della realtà collettiva. Può una lettera anonima, magari addirittura falsa, diventare un manifesto generazionale? Perchè no? Non viviamo in ogni caso di fiction e di astrazioni come la carriera, il “personal brand”, il debito? La lettera può pure essere falsa, ciò non toglie che sia comunque reale.

Il tono è drammatico, senza speranza. Tuttavia i commenti dei miei coetanei risultano ancor più desolanti. Quelli che si scusano per il proprio cinismo si sbagliano. Ciò che orienta il senso comune non è il cinismo, bensì una forma di darwinismo sociale denso di paternalismo. Una prospettiva del genere può soltanto inquadrare un lucido –seppur disperato– atto di protesta nella categoria del disturbo mentale. Tale interpretazione è a dir poco necessaria poiché se si dovesse ammettere che non si tratta di un gesto folle, ci si troverebbe costretti ad accettare il fatto che a essere folle è il sistema di valori dominante.

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Generatie B – A No-Bullshit Show about the Bullshit Job Generation

Recently presented at the IFFR in Rotterdam, Generatie B (2017) portrays a near future in which the credit rating of Belgium drops from AA+ to B. The TV show is set in Bruxelles, where a job that is not a bullshit one seems impossible to find. And the bullshit ones truly live up to their name, like a gig in a call center where employees are required to speak with Indian people, simulating their English accent. After a shift that rigorously takes place at night, the main character can finally go to his rented sofa, since a room would be too expensive. This state of affairs recalls even too closely the case of the United Nation intern who had to live in a tent because of the steep rents in Geneva. As in the best tradition of tactical media, David Hyde’s action was a fiction, but a convincing and therefore scary one, exactly like Generatie B not-so-far future.

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