** Read in dark mode **
“Imamović perfectly captures the alienation of the post/hyper/late-capitalist subject, and its sublimation into a ‘style’ that is laboured over with the stagnant fervour of a factory-line worker. This diary is both a disturbing and comforting mirror of ourselves.”
– Miriam Rasch, philosopher and essayist
“Diary of a Stylist has given me my new favourite pastime: looking for tiny clues left behind by stylists in (almost) perfectly sterilised e-commerce product pictures. It’s a brilliantly boring and hidden world Imamović uncovers in her journal.”
– Inte Gloerich, researcher at Institute of Network Cultures and PhD student at Utrecht University
“Diary of a Stylist is a dive into the stylist’s schedule and its serial repeated gestures. Its mask melts with the one wearing it. Is the awareness of alienation a way to draw a path out of it? A breathless adventure into our late capitalist daily life and inner struggles and a fascinating testimony of the hidden common.”
“Diary of a stylist est une plongée au creux de l’emploi du temps, et des gestes répétés en série et à l’infini. Peu à peu, le masque de la styliste s’infuse dans l’esprit de celle qui le porte. Comment déjouer le sort ? Est-ce que la conscience de son aliénation est une porte de sortie ? Une aventure haletante au sein de notre quotidien néo-libéral, et de nos conflits intérieurs.”
– Morgane Le Doze, artist
“Untouchable yet at the extremities of our fingers, Imamović confronts us with one of the quest of Demotivated Beings with curated lifestyles: Insatiable scrolls down probing the 4 angles clickable desires — What’s next?”
– Aurélien Lepetit, artist and author of Alphemale
“Shopping is a long and winding activity. Products can linger in shopping baskets for months – a shopping platform with an understanding of human behavior will allow for this and also send gentle email reminders acknowledging either the products left behind or even a discount on them – until the precise stage of actualization is reached by the consumer and they’re finally ready to become what the product symbolizes, or accept what they have already become. When that happens they can press through and click “Buy”. But do they understand the winding journey that brought them there?
Some statements take the form of facts in “Diary of a Stylist” by Maisa Imamović. One such statement is: ‘Today’s content represents tomorrow’s consumption.’
However consumption doesn’t happen in a vacuum, there’s no direct pathway between consumer and product, in spite of the fact that, while scouring the pages of brand1.nl, brand2.com, brand3.international, global.global, one is greeted by perfectly blank backgrounds behind all products and perfectly manicured items that wait for obe to click “Add to cart”. Consumption is aided by a network of aspirations which take years to develop, it’s aided by trends, by lifestyle articles, by seeing your favorite TV star wearing a pair of sneakers on their way to buy a large triple shot pumpkin spice latte. Consumption is a question of who we think we are and also who we dream of becoming.
In that, the stylist is only an element in a larger aggregate. And the influence the stylist pictures of having on the consumer can actually be thought of as the result of her powerlessness since in the dance of unwrapping products and allowing them to express their attitude it comes to light that the workers – be they the stylists, photographers, retouchers, copywriters, models, and managers, webmasters, online reviewers, lifestyle piece writers, delivery men and women – need to disappear in order for the conversation to take place between consumer and product.
For me to actualize myself, to find my own style, I need to annihilate the working hands and minds that bring me to the product and bring the product to me. Because, as the ads say, “I’m worth it”. Maybe true rebellion begins with figuring out that I’m not. And that’s perfectly fine.”
– Alina Lupu, conceptual artist, writer, currently unemployed
“Revolutionary option 27382) Deconstruct a detail from Diary of Stylist to avoid stylizing a compliment with pungent words in a yet undisturbing structure.
Realization number 27383) Accept that, the revolutionary option is doomed to fit in the revolutionary template in order to form a hint of a rebellion here. Is this it Maisa Imamović? Faced to Diary of Stylist, a determined will to shape dissent slides in a sigh and decides to rest, aka This is a masterpiece.”
– Lena Karson, mediator & artist studying linguistics
“Diary of a Stylist proves that even the most mundane and dull occupation, when approached by an artistic soul, can become a case study for a relevant and important research.”
– Patrycja Rozwora, art writer
“The Diary of a Stylist sees contemporary life just like it is: colonised by the product and governed by the commodity. Imamović reminds us that the objects we see on our screens are never real, but are instead made alive through the methodical workings of a digital simulacrum. In its quotidian exploration of the consequences of 21st century capitalism, the present logbook is polemical, yet it does not point fingers. Although it does not prosecute the culprit, it aptly diagnoses the symptoms of the infection it has caused: an eroded marketplace and the illusion of job satisfaction, boring trades and trendy impulses, communities devoid of meaning and damaged political expression, 24/7 surveillance and addictive routines. The farce is disguised as market opportunity and sometimes the enormity of it all stems from the little things. Because of this and many other better reasons, Imamović’s diary may not be just the diary of a stylist, but that of any young individual trying to make it in the so-called creative sector.”
– Kajet Journal, Laura & Petrica
“As if from the overwrought mind of an anxiously acute worm bored deep inside the bittersweet rotting fruit that is its home, overtly aware of its precarity yet drunk on the ferment of its environment, Maisa’s diary provides a playful yet devastating confession of a life within the greasy mechanised e-commerce world and related experience economy: otherwise shadowy industries contriving to influence, log, and profit from our every thought.”
– Jack Bushnell, webshop operations executive
“About your the tiny text, I did write a few little things, but to be honest I deleted them a week ago, because almost all of them were a bit of a joke, not even really fun I think. Like “I love Gert’s work too!”, or “to be fashion or not to fashion”, this seems a bit reducing compared to the nice work you did. And sincerely, I am very impressed by your writing, it developed a lot since I know you; you found a good tone mixing your dark soul and your love for spreading your atypical neuronal network in a diary way, well done dear! Except very honest compliments, or kinda shitty jokes, not sure I know what to write about it. I can try again though, but I must admit that I’m not in the most self-confident period for telling the world through my insane in da membrane mind what to think.”
– Nicolas Chuard, tattoo artist, installation artist, artist
“Post-article, Maisa, the author, calls the essay a piece of styling – I am not sure what that means – but I can imagine myself printing the article and wearing it as a suit, while I write(this). I hand-write all of it out, to stay with the letters and words and sentences longer. a bit. As the endorser, holding the responsibility to make this text better – which I don’t think I can and will achieve – I lose the enjoyment of endorsing. a bit. What did I think was the enjoyment of endorsing to begin with? I’ve never endorsed anything before. Is this what endorsing has always been about, making something better? Well, while I don’t believe Maisa needs my endorsement for both her narrative and her styling skills, I present here some words and thoughts triggered by Maisa’s (someone whose writing moves, triggers and pleasantly frustrates the reader at different frequencies) odyssey through her life as an endorser of products that not even India itself has the full capability to make look truly great.
Maisa the stylist, also happens to be a writer, and a mindreader & influencer of online consumers – she knows things none of us do. Her writing bears the essayistic method more so than of the actual objective most essays carry out. What I mean by that is that the relationship between author, subject and reader she creates is more poetic than academic.
She often wears black sunglasses, and now I know why. They help her look and think her experience into long-form-essayism. They give her eyes the ability and protection to transform shoes, chocolate letters and design boys into symbols, props and metaphors. If only they all knew what she was up to! The way she lets words crawl in between moments has a fascinating and at times nauseating effect – like a real diary. Where is this going? Is it going? Let me go.
To call it a diary raises some questions: me – who has never worked in a styling factory, but has experience in a sauce factory – pre-IPAD, but pretty much the same thing: – working in order to help someone else become rich – Who is the text addressed to: me, the endorser – the scrolling endorser? Am I different from the scrolling consumer? She changes her perspective from ‘I’ to ‘she’ to ‘we’, but leaves the reader untouched.
What we [with we I mean my fellow endorsers and a public reached by chance and word of mouth] get to witness here is a person staying alive through thinking —>transforming thoughts into words – keeping her mind occupied and critical – entering into dialogue with self.”
– Stefan Pavlović, filmmaker
“I feel like I traveled with Maisa to every corner of the warehouse where she worked as ‘a stylist with guidelines’, to the space of the web page where her (until now) invisible labour was used, back and forth between her -of course- boring working days to her bright reflections – beautifully and playfully composed.”
– Clara Pasteau, web-developer and graphic designer
“Diary of a Stylist unpacks the all-encompassing experience economy through the daily rhythms, cycles and feelings of an e-commerce product stylist. Ultimately, Imamović’s engrossing and well-crafted account unapologetically reveals how we have all become stylists, perpetuating public performance and productivity, despite boredom and exhaustion. ‘While everything feels like everything looks the same, our hunger for distinction still persists.’”
– Katía Truijen, media researcher and musician
“The text makes evident that unlike the old times when workers were exploited, now it´s kind of our job to exploit ourselves. Maybe it once was a tragedy but now we glide through our lives in a completely superficial choreography.”
– Ondřej Vaněk, architect
“Products, images of products, makers of these images, consumers of these products, the everyday life of the whole product-image-user complex… Maisa Imamović’s Diary of a Stylist is an absorbing account of the conflicting and yet frightfully consistent rationales of these commodified entities. Maisa argues that style is protection from chaos; after reading her diary, I found myself wondering: do I really need protection from what I want?”
– Silvio Lorusso, email person, late answerer, chat aficionado, telephonophobic
1. “Diary of Stylist presents the definition of a bullshit job.””
2. “Holy motherfucker, thank you for writing this. This is my life 100%! I do this! It’s pointless, meaningless and psychologically destructive…
They pretend you gain self-worth from it but it turns you into a fucking ZOMBIE.”
– Merel Smit, artist
“What strikes me about Diary of a Stylist is how one can actively function as a productive force of labor that drives the capital machine to survive the self and simultaneously imagine and produce thoughts that counter it and seek an exit. This radical contrast creates a vivid observation of her surroundings and one that makes this body of work intriguing to scratch and explore.”
– Ali Eslami, artist
“Engrossing, thought-provoking, and brilliant – ‘Diary of a Stylist’ reminds me of how much effort we put into perfecting our obsession for e-commerce. While Maisa Imamović thoughtfully uncovers her personality with the use of humor and resistance through storytelling to advocate for change, I must say it’s a great tool to actualize her tone of voice too. This newsletter perfectly captures the story of why we always end up in the trap of capitalism to only please a mundane schedule that drains us of creativity. What’s wrong with this hidden world? After all, a Stylist’s job is to polish, systemize and create perfect looks, but how much of this is necessary? Aren’t we all Stylists in different occupations? What exactly is expected from us if we keep laboring to empty ourselves of our creative abilities?”
– Debora Deva, writer, designer, artist
“Reading Diary of a Stylist is at first a confrontation with the author’s very specific writing style: playful, eloquent and loaded with agency and purpose. Reminiscent of the long tradition of worker’s inquiries, the author proposes a snapshot of a new transposition in the lineage of ‘mind-numbing’ jobs, this time fostered by everything dark stores online business models. The essay-novella, a mixture of embraced surface level prose intertwined with (auto)theory, produces peculiar insights on how on-demand taskification and outsourcing paradigms subjected to the precarious labourers are essential in enabling the image of a fully automated digital seamless and smooth as fuck plain leisure-consumption economic project. As the reader is reminded in unexpected ways of the very concealed and necessary instances of physical and repetitive labour behind smooth and sticky online (consumer) experiences, their online shopping experience might now feel a bit more prompted by the fact that, in regards to that matter after all, they are mostly just a conversion rate metric.”
– François Girard-Meunier, kind-of full time freelancer
This is a growing archive of endorsements. The original endorsers of the Diary of a Stylist are Geert Lovink, Lacey Verhalen, Lauren Henderson, Sepp Eckenhaussen, and Jack Self. Would you like to become an endorser? Read the diary and send your blurb to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you back within 2 weeks.