In this community discussion led by scholar Mariam Assad, we ask, “Where are our promised techno-utopias?” With a focus on class (but also, necessarily, gender, race, citizenship, and various other identities and experiences), we begin our exploration of contemporary labor and notions of utopia with some thoughts from Engels. We pair this conversation with an interrogation of the precarious labor models espoused by both the creative economy and the technology sector in the present. We also examine the networked technologies that pervade contemporary work, as well as the visions and ideals that digital culture has/has not/has not yet brought.
We critique a diverse array of artistic case-studies, ranging from the personal techno-utopias of Jacolby Satterwhite and the techno-dystopia of Janelle Monaé’s “Dirty Computer,” to examples of alternative labor models like Our Goods and Feel Train.
- Jacolby Satterwhite - ‘Reifying Desire 6’ (2013)
- Mika Rottenberg - Various Works
- Caroline Woolard - ‘Our Goods’
- Courtney Stanton + Darius Kazemi - ‘Feel Train’ Various - ‘Allied Media Conference’
- (Bonus) Janelle Monáe - ‘Dirty Computer’ (2018)
- Frederick Engels - ‘The Development of Utopian Socialism’
- Sam Wallman - ‘If They Could Pay Us Less, They Would’
- Erin Duffy - ‘Female Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy: Worker Subjectivities Refracted Through an Instagram Filter’’