SWEATSHOPS, PICKET LINES, AND BARRICADES will bring together designers, labor organizers, theorists, social entrepreneurs, historians, legal scholars, independent researchers, cultural producers and perspectives from workers themselves to discuss emerging forms of mutual aid and solidarity.
The third in The New School’s Politics of Digital Culture Conference Series Sponsored by The New School and The Institute for Distributed Creativity.
Over the past decade, advancements in software development, digitization, an increase in computer processing power, faster and cheaper bandwidth and storage, and the introduction of a wide range of inexpensive, wireless-enabled computing devices and mobile phones, set the global stage for emerging forms of labor that help corporations to drive down labor costs and ward off the falling rate of profits.
Companies like CrowdFlower, oDesk, or Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk serve as much more than payment processors or interface providers; they shape the nature of the tasks that are performed. Work is organized against the worker. Recent books included The Internet as Playground and Factory (Scholz, 2013), Living Labor (Hoegsberg and Fisher) based on the exhibition Arbeitstid that took place in Oslo in 2013 and Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labour (Peters, Bulut, et al, eds., Peter Lang, 2011). In 2012, the exhibition The Workers was curated by MASS MOCA in the United States. Christian Fuchs’ book Digital Labor and Karl Marx is forthcoming with Routledge.
Several events have been organized in the last few years to focus on these developments: Digital Labor: the Internet as Playground and Factory conference (The New School, New York City, 2009 http://digitallabor.org), Digital Labor: Workers, Authors, Citizens (Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, 2009), Invisible Labor Colloquium (Washington University Law School, 2013), Towards Critical Theories of Social Media (Uppsala University, Sweden, 2012), Re:publica (Berlin, 2013), and the Chronicles of Work lecture series at Schloß Solitude (Stuttgart, Germany, 2012/2013).
We would like to continue and elaborate on these discussions by raising the following questions:
via Digital Labor.