Info

ow is a research project focused on the transformation of the internet user in relation to labour. It draws from Benjamin Bratton's The Stack definition of user—anything able to interface with another user; whether human, animal, plant, mineral, machinic, algorithmic, etc.—to understand the idea of work in a different way.

To do so, the project sets a scenario where a Universal Basic Income is a prerequisite for a post-work society, undermining the classic idea of work and worker—a process began in the 70s with the rising of the post-fordist figure.

The internet user is, indeed, the latest iteration of a process of full identification between the post-fordist worker and his her job, where intellectual and affective labour are the main means of production and of subject-formation.

Reading

In no particular order:

Output

Working on:

  • Of Labor and Human Bondage: Spinoza, Marx, and the “Willing Slaves” of Capitalism

    LA Review of Books on Frédéric Lordon's Willing Slaves of Capital. Moving from defining desire the driving force for worker to go back to work day after day (at first a desire not to starve), and then Capitalism as a fundamental restructuring of this desire (for the fordist worker a desirer to earn more money not because of a fear to starve, but because of a desire to buy and consume goods), the passage towards the post-fordist worker is quite eloquent: Neoliberalism can be initially understood as an assault on these securities, as union contracts and other forms of... more
  • Posthuman, All Too Human, Towards a New Process Ontology—Rosi Braidotti

    Rosi Braidotti talking about "process ontology" for the posthuman subject. In this respect, she [Donna Haraway] is conceptually part of the same epistemological tradition as Bachelard, for whom the scientific ratio is not necessarily hostile to the humanistic approaches and values. Moreover, in this line of thinking the practice of science is not seen as narrowly rationalistic, but rather allows for a broadened definition of the term, to include the play of the unconscious, dreams and the imagination in the production of scientific discourse. Two points are noteworthy here: first, that Haraway analyses the contemporary scientific revolution in more radical ... more
  • Red stack attack! Algorithms, capital and the automation of the common—Tiziana Terranova

    Going beyond the opposition between state and market, public and private, the concept of the common is used here as a way to instigate the thought and practice of a possible post-capitalist mode of existence for networked digital media. An algorithm can be provisionally defined as the “description of the method by which a task is to be accomplished…’ by means of sequences of steps or instructions, sets of ordered steps that operate on data and computational structures. As such, an algorithm is an abstraction, ‘having an autonomous existence independent of what computer scientists like to refer to as “implementation details,” ... more
  • Automate Now? Robots, Jobs and Universal Basic Income A Public Debate

    A couple of notes I jotted down while watching the video: ubi → decommodifies labour ubi → brings a new set of ethics (work ethics is reduced and or replaced with a different and or new ethics); but what about the situation of the internet user in this? Can he she it escape from it? job → a series of tasks; robots will take on tasks, not on jobs shadow work 1 at 1:25:55 a woman brings up a question I am asking myself quite a lot, which is "How do we decide which creatures benefit from a universal basic income? What about children, and especi... more
  • Digital Ghosts

    An interview with Eric Steinhart: 3:AM: You’ve thought about how as technology advances we can all become ‘digital ghosts’. Can you first say what is at stake with this idea – is this idea of afterlife a religious idea? ES: When people think about life after death, they think about mind-body dualism, along with the traditional religions, such as Christianity. But I argue that ideas from computer science provide a better way to think about life after death. A cell is like a book which contains instructions for writing books. And, when it reproduces, it writes other books. Your genes are inst... more
  • Larping Off the Grid

    Pretending to rebel against wearable technology in the year 2020 was definitely the closest I had ever come to larping (Live Action Role Playing), and while I didn't necessarily glide into my role as easily as I had hoped, I did see the potential for larp as an artistic context in which to experiment with possible responses to hypothetical realities that, sooner or later, may become our own. As others have pointed out, larping (particularly as it is practiced in the Nordic Larp community) can be a powerful catalyst for sociological reflection, political activism, and social change—allowing participants to become di... more
  • The Black Stack

    A lot of great passages, italics mine: From here we see that contemporary Cloud platforms are displacing, if not also replacing, traditional core functions of states, and demonstrating, for both good and ill, new spatial and temporal models of politics and publics. Archaic states drew their authority from the regular provision of food. Over the course of modernization, more was added to the intricate bargains of Leviathan: energy, infrastructure, legal identity and standing, objective and comprehensive maps, credible currencies, and flag-brand loyalties. Bit by bit, each of these and more are now provided by Cloud platforms, not necessarily as formal ... more
  • The Stack, a diagram by Metahaven

    the-stack-diagram-by-metahaven
    Young Heraclitus ‎@DreamboatSlim says: could rly use a noice print of this diagram to put above my desk and look at occasinoally as I think about modernity more
  • Silicon Valley talks a good game on ‘basic income’, but its words are empty

    Evgeny Morozov on Silicon Valley's interest towards a basic income: In fact, Silicon Valley can easily make the first step towards the introduction of basic income: why not make us, the users, the owners of our own data? At the very minimum, it could help us to find alternative, non-commercial users of this data. At its most ambitious you can think of a mechanism whereby cities, municipalities and eventually nation states, starved of the data that now accrues almost exclusively to the big tech firms, would compensate citizens for their data with some kind of basic income, that might be ... more
  • A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, by John Perry Barlow

    Putting aside the repudiation (too strong?) of the body present in the text, claiming that is not part of the new virtual world—which I find quite ridicule and I do prefer the cyberfeminist take on it (the body is part of the internet)—this bit is quintessential. Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and ... more
  • Re-Engineering Hegemony: Glass Bead in conversation with Mat Dryhurst, Holly Herndon and Alex Williams

    [Alex Williams] The political side of platforms, as I understand it, comes in the way they recede into the background. They are literally fundamental, in the sense of being the ground on which practice occurs, yet successful platforms have a tendency to appear merely neutral. In this sense, they can control and guide action occurring atop them. In terms of IT platforms, the license to print money which Microsoft, for example, obtained in the nineties with Windows, was entirely about its ability to function as a smooth, apparently neutral platform environment. In the business studies literature on platforms, the ability ... more
  • Contra-Internet Totality Study #1: Internet, a definition

    contra-internet-01
  • History of the term `affective labor`

    Materials on the history of the term affective labor and its difference with emotional labour: Does anyone have any insight on the intellectual history behind the term 'affective labor' or want to shed light on its orgins in Marx's "The Fragment on Machines" in Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie (Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy)? When I had this question I started with Arlie Hochschild's 1983 book, "The Managed Heart" (which coins the term "emotional labor"), then Silvia Federici's "Caliban and the Witch" and the essays collected in "Revolution at Point Zero." I found this explicitly feminist background helpful a... more
  • Motion, a description of the `object`

    harm-van-den-dorpel-assemblage-1
    A collective exhibition about a particular idea of an ever-evolving object: The object that exists in motion spans different points, relations and existences but always remains the same thing. Like the digital file, the bootlegged copy, the icon, or Capital it reproduces, travels and accelerates, constantly negotiating the different supports that enable its movement. As it occupies these different spaces and forms it is always reconstituting itself. It doesn’t have an autonomous singular existence; it is only ever activated within the network of nodes and channels of transportation. Both a distributed process and an independent occurrence, it is like an... more
  • on collaboration, collectivism and replaceability @ft

    What terrifies me is the co-optation of collectivism-as-ideal by capitalism-as-practice. It's everywhere. https://twitter.com/FuckTheory/status/643490361957044224 Ideology's new hit single: "Replace The Myth of the Solitary Genius With Team Work" b/w "Being Interchangeable Also Makes Us Replaceable" https://twitter.com/FuckTheory/status/643491712246149120 It's like something right out of Nietzsche. I. Separate active forces from what they can do: convince you that your infinite capacities are limited and weak. II. Let the meek inherit the earth: Create an ideology of labor where minuscule effort becomes a heroic act. III. Internalized resentiment: given our minuscule contributions, there's a limit to ... more