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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On ‘Pausing Precarity’

The Institute of Network Cultures just launched its podcast Zero Infinite. I’m very glad that the first episode is dedicated to precarity and proud that the entreprecariat is mentioned in there.

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Squatting the Continuous Office

Bea Fremderman, Kafka Office (2013)

The use of mobile phone testifies the way in which cognitive work has slipped out its canonical environment –the office– to become an uninterrupted presence in our lives. Work that exists both as actuality (the email we’re replying to) and as potentiality (the red badge notifying that there are still emails to read). Clearly, there have been some antecedents, such as the laptop and, before that, the desktop computer. Even with the telephone, work outside the office was possible. However, the mobile phone represents a qualitative shift since it radicalizes the mobility and ubiquity of work.

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Knowing Nothing

How should we conceive precarity? What characterizes this condition? I republish here a definition of precarity found in the glossary of Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s Precarious Rhapsody (2009). Berardi’s definition seems to confirm the idea that precarity is first and foremost a matter of perception and subsequent emotions, it is a kind of feedback loop between the two. Material deprivation and poverty play a central role in the precarious experience but they are not its determinant feature. When they aren’t really part of one’s life, they still function as a presage, a presentiment, that in turn affects daily life and decision making. Bifo describes the inability to imagine one’s own future and the constant presence of anxiety. Clearly, this state of affair is not exceptional anymore. In order to change it, the precariat needs to formulate and articulate a series of demands, but how to do so when you can’t foresee your own life in a year from now? In other words, how to act against precarity if your time and thoughts are occupied by the state of being precarious? It seems that one needs stability in order to address precarity.

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-preneurship

kidtrepreneur
momtrepreneur
wifetrepreneur
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Ironic Attachment – If Irony Feels Ironic

A few days ago, at La Scuola Open Source, one of the things I discussed was the relationship between irony and precarity. Since it’s a common artistic rhetorical tool, questions about irony are frequent. Whenever this happens, I think of two opposite arguments about it. The first is by Mark Fisher, who in Capitalist Realism identifies irony as the typical expression of the post-modern condition, in which there is no way of engaging with societal issues. The second is by Franco ‘bifo’ Berardi, who in Heroes declares that irony must oppose the tragic seriousness of life under semiocapitalism.

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Sadtrepreneurs – My Two Cents on Crowdfunding

In 2014 I created Kickended, an archive of Kickstarter’s $0-pledged campaigns. My attempt was to highlight the survivorship bias constitutive of crowdfuding as part of an hegemonic culture of success: at the time, both Kickstarter’s interface and tech news were all about campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Rediscovering Precarity Slogans, Memes, and Chants

Photo: Saverio Massaro

Yesterday I had the pleasure to talk about entrepreneurialism and precarity at La Scuola Open Source, a new energetic, convivial, and brave reality located in Bari, which is very close to my hometown.

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24/7 Work Ethic and the Superpowers of Accidental Irony

Today I read a short post by David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails. In his article, he describes how already in 2013, people at Basecamp were already were taking action against the 24/7 work lifestyle advertised by Microsoft. This even led to the implementation of a feature ensuring “that work stays out of your kid’s soccer game or your family’s movie night.” Now, after 3 years, Hansson is disappointed to find out that Microsoft’s promotional strategy hasn’t changed at all.

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The Religious Work Ethic of Spotlight

Mitchell Garabedian

Mitchell Garabedian

A few days ago, I watched Spotlight: in the movie, a group of investigative journalists from the Boston Globe struggles to reveal the systematic operations carried out by the Catholic Church in order to obscure the sheer magnitude of child abuses committed by priests. Spotlight is based on real facts that took place in 2001.

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