RTV MAG on WORK // The Materiality of Work. On the Necessity of Boredom in the World of Performance

Rafaą-Ĺarski_daily-mutation_2_2018Rafał Żarski, Daily Mutation, 2018

Every work, even creative, cognitive or affective one, begins in the body, is carried out by it, and leaves a trace in it. From the perspective of the body the only thing, which distinguishes a daily curatorial job performed in a cultural institution from an administrative one is a used software, strain on the spine stays the same.

This fact coincides with the thesis of the materiality of all labour introduced by Artur Szarecki in his book “Somatic Capitalism: Body and Power in the Corporate Culture”, in which he analyses the disciplining nature of capitalism from its early Taylor-Fordist roots, to the contemporary management systems focused on the self-optimizing individuals. Nevertheless, the source of labour and the subject of control is always a working body, even if we reduce it to the fingertips typing on the keyboard.

Capitalism keeps adding new technologies to a set of disciplining measures existing since the end of the 19th century, and, what from the proposed materialistic perspective could be even more important, also knowledge of social sciences, psychology, and culture. 21st century worker is a performer, not separating him- or herself from the product of their work, mastering the art of self-presentation on the real-life and virtual stages, devoting his or her “free time” to filling the popular social media portals with photos taken at events, trips, vernissages and vogue balls. Such a worker is always on stand-by, even at night, never off.




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