The Aesthetics of Productive Anxiety: Silvio Lorusso and the Entreprecariat

The essay below was first published, among many great others, in:

DIGIMAG JOURNAL | ISSUE 75 | DIGITAL IDENTITIES, SELF NARRATIVES
Curated by Silvia Bertolotti and Marco Mancuso
Published by Digicult Editions and available for free as
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, Issuu, POD — http://www.digicult.it/digimag-journal/


The Best Is Yet To Come, Silvio Lorusso (2012)

Spinning the Wheel

The Best Is Yet To Come (2012) is a webpage with a random sequence of preloader gifs, spinning endlessly and uselessly in time. Apparently busy, de facto idle. According to a study undertaken over a period of two weeks, people spent a grand total of 60 years looking at those buffering icons, waiting and waiting while data was invisibly crunched behind the interface. The piece, by artist, designer and theorist Silvio Lorusso, reminds me of an e-flux essay by Jack Self. According to the author, real-time systems are revealed to be as ineffective as any decision-making or resource distribution model; they perpetuate the same hegemonic inequalities and commit the same logical errors. The throbber’s role is therefore to “mollify” users enough to keep them within the general flow of information “by reframing non-action as a normalized process of data exchange.” Thing is, the moment of infrastructural non-productivity captured by Lorusso is perhaps the only escape from another productive loop. Within a digital environment where sociality and work chase each other non-stop, the artist’s contemplation of the loading wheel is a much needed break. It is as close to zen as it gets.

TBIYTC is probably the most abstract piece of Lorusso’s, but it encapsulates quite well the web-savvy aesthetics of productive anxiety that encompasses his heterogeneous practice. I first became interested in Silvio’s work when writing an article about Networked Optimization, a series of self-help e-books that he and fellow artist Sebastian Schmieg had hacked so that only the bits most highlighted by other readers would show. The result was a printed series of mostly blank pages, delivering the gist of bestsellers like How to Win Friends & Influence People — minus the cumbersome act of actually going through the whole book, courtesy of crowd-sourcing. The work struck me for its technological and aesthetic elegance, but also because it spoke for a lifestyle and a “structure of feeling” (if we are to use Raymond Williams’s expression) I am familiar with. The emotional dimension of Lorusso’s oeuvre is extremely relatable to someone who, like me and countless others, finds semi-comfortable shelter under the wide umbrella of knowledge work.

Networked Optimization, Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg (2013)

Defined in turn as creative or immaterial, knowledge work has been the subject of much theorizing, not insignificantly because it hits close to home for many theorists. One of the last pages of Alan Liu’s The Laws of Cool (2004), a key text on the topic, reads like an autobiographic confession: “I criticize postindustrialism from the inside because — here and now, in my place and time — there is no transcendental outside. One must think a little like a corporation to engage with postindustrialism” (Liu, 2004, 387).

A big chunk of Liu’s book deals with the peculiarities of knowledge workers as an emerging new class, and their relation to culture. An extrusion of the middle-class (so wide to be deemed “universal”, in the words of Gouldner), this new social group does not fit the binary opposition between workers and owners defined by Marxism. In a fuzzier fashion, it identifies with the code of professionalism, but without fully enjoying all its perks. This disillusioned multitude is too deeply embedded within a political cyberlibertarianism to truly be counter-cultural and can only aspire to the detached, tech-aware ethos of “cool”. Liu describes it as a “bad attitude” — one that disqualifies its own environment by a lack of faith, rather than participation.

The Laws of Cool dedicates many pages to the analysis of management culture and pertaining literature. If the discipline has spilled over into all segments of society and is perceived as a universal cultural model, the new field of “identity management” becomes a sandbox for the simulation of diversity and the cultivation of personality as a professional asset. The removal of history is a crucial step in this direction: flattened within the modular flexibility of the “team” system, all cultural identities are equivalent and replaceable. Going back to the endlessly spinning wheel in Lorusso’s piece, the end of history declared by Francis Fukuyama and repeatedly disputed by, well, history, it’s at least a reality within the hypnotic suspension of a “best” that is, quite surely, not coming.

The Entreprecariat

The main rationale for Liu’s book is the self-conscious necessity for the humanities to find renewed relevance in society. Creativity is everywhere, yet it is now mandatory for academia and artists alike to justify their work in terms of impact, as well as quantify and map the networking potential of their output. While Liu went to sleep as a cultural critic and woke up as a data processor, the artist today is called to be a data analyst and a neighborhood activist. From Thomas Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument in the New York projects to Martha Rosler’s traveling urbanism library, artists have been proving increasingly sensible in terms of their responsibility as urban agents (as well as producing increasingly reading-heavy works). But while the social implications of big data on pre-policing and other social issues have only recently started to be questioned, artist-run spaces in fast-changing LA, no matter how tactful, are sometimes identified as clear harbingers of community destruction and are being resisted by neighborhood activists. Aesthetic accountability, in this sense, is way ahead of algorithmic accountability.

Shouldn’t you be working?, Silvio Lorusso (2016)

Towards the end of The Laws of Cool, the author outlines ways in which the academic criticality of the humanities can help the viral aesthetics of the really cool — the unbridled, borderline terroristic attitude of new media art — confirm its cultural relevance against the “deep norm of history”. As a necessarily multi-talented artist, working with at least one foot in academia, Lorusso is producing a substantial contribution to contextualize his own work and at the same time push it deeper into critical territory. The Entreprecariat, his research blog hosted at the excellently para-academic Institute of Network Cultures, is thus perhaps his most interesting piece.

As many have tried defining the collective subject both me and Silvio are a part of — from Florida’s overly optimistic Creative Class to Bifo’s historically conscious Cognitariat, via the cultural stereotype of the Hipster — his simple conceptual reworking of “entrepreneur” and “precariat” is particularly fit for the aesthetics of his work, which combines glitch episodes with the self-deprecating irony of memes. The blog outlines an anatomy of the Entreprecariat by analyzing its most widespread phenomena — the distributed office, for example — and dissecting media objects like memes or ad campaigns.

In one of his blog posts, for example, Silvio addresses a recruiting campaign for Fiverr, a marketplace platform that connects clients and designers offering their services for as little as 5$. The site profile its potential users like this: “You eat coffee for lunch. You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.”

“Doer” is an inherently productive label, almost epically stoic in spinning underpaid efforts and over-working into a nobilitating work ethic, fueled by caffeinated delusions.

Reflecting on the self-branding rhetoric of best-sellers like The Startup of You and The Brand Called You, as well as the networking platforms sustaining them (e.g. LinkedIn), Lorusso has been particularly effective in encapsulating the anxiety-inducing yet compulsively motivated predicament of the contemporary Foucauldian “enterprise-unit”. With Mark Fisher and Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Silvio argues for a union of the Entreprecariat around common problems such as depression and “feels”, adding a layer of meme-consciousness to it.

Since my own research deals with the commodification and circulation of stereotypical cultural identities, I immediately knew I had to talk to Silvio about his project. The quotes in this text were extracted (to use a term familiar to regular readers of immaterial work literature) via the proprietary infrastructure of Skype.

Kickended, Silvio Lorusso (2014)

“Dedicating a year to these themes is scary, because I think it’s risky to brand myself this way,” Silvio tells me. “You know how hip all the talk about automation is, but talking about precarity is not sexy at all. It’s not like 2005, the days of San Precario.” The patron saint of precarious workers, San Precario was an iconic attempt to encapsulate a diffused frustration within a (characteristically Italian) religious imagery.
Although the condition of precarity is widespread, it seems the concept has different undertones depending on context. “It’s interesting. I did some research and here in the Netherlands the term precariat is quite academic, unlike in France,” Lorusso explains. “In Italy, which I think is the most interesting case, the term is mostly used by the media. I always say the problem with the precariat — this kind of semi-middle-class precariat — is it cannot identify with being precarious.” Silvio uses an interesting analogy: “It’s like being outed versus coming out. One would like to come out as precarious, but it’s not a good strategy to do so. On the other hand, you’re constantly outed by the media. It’s used as a weapon against millennials, often linked to the rhetoric of our generation being a bunch of ‘bamboccioni’ (Italian for ‘mama’s boys’).”
The goal of the Entreprecariat research blog is thus to develop tools to ease coming out as precarious rather than being outed as such. “The Entreprecariat is my escamotage to do just that, with a degree of irony or dadaism, using something that has yet to be semanticized by the media.”

Lorusso decided to focus on the entrepreneurial dimension of the precariat after working on the KickEnded (2014), a KickStarter clone featuring only those projects that harvested 0$, which prompted to ask himself whether he could call himself an entrepreneur. Now, the hope is for the term to be used by other people as well, perhaps competing with other less critical tags for self-branding that are designed by the very corporations that inspire the semi-sustainable lifestyle Silvio is studying.

The Nomadic Office

(Self)branding as a Doer or a Maker is the result of a continuous practice of imagination, something Lorusso sees as highly strategic. “There is an issue of self-perception. Let’s assume I am forced to work on the move, what kind of representation of myself do I want to give? In terms of personal branding, it makes more sense to portray yourself as an autonomous, independent professional, rather than someone who is working in a crowded café because you don’t have an office to work.”

This all-encompassing, aspirational dimension of work links the Entreprecariat to another figure, a dominant one in the current rhetoric of digital work and urban redevelopment: the Digital Nomad.

Shouldn’t you be working?, Silvio Lorusso (2016)

The label seems quite popular: travel blogs, Facebook communities with members in the thousands, online platforms helping users make sure they rent the best desk in the coolest co-working location — the business ecology around the Digital Nomad is big, and growing. Commercial enterprises like travel company Remote Year (around 260,000 likes on Facebook) encourage workers who are already remote, or wish to become so, to apply for a 12-month experience across as many different cities. For a (substantial) monthly price, the company provides travel and accommodation, as well as a degree of support in helping selected applicants get their employers on board with the remote idea. Most importantly, the selection process provides a level of exclusivity and curation that is itself résumé-worthy — and thus justifies working to pay the fee sustaining your own privileged working condition. The rich and lively network of travel bloggers, posting photos and videos on social media, helps disseminate an inspiring provocation: if we can do it, you can — and, probably, should — do it. If you follow the advice, share and perhaps donate, it’s doable — if you don’t try, you’ll forever wonder what might have been. The Digital Nomad is thus escaping Alvin Toffler’s “electronic cottage” to find solace on a similarly wired seaside swimming pool.

Unsurprisingly, Lorusso does not identify as a Digital Nomad. “I feel there is a strong rhetorical push towards the irrelevance of physical space, this idea you can just bring your Mac anywhere, but it’s a very elitist vision of what it means to work today,” he points out. “Only a small percentage of the so-called creative class can work with just a computer and WiFi. I can work on the train, but I need a recurrent confirmation provided by physical proximity. To get paid, I have to be in the office by contract. Few people can really work independently from a concrete space, and I think it can also be unsustainable on a psycho-physical level.”

One of Lorusso’s pieces — perhaps the only offline one — ironically addresses the ubiquity of the workplace. Printed on transparent background, in a no-frills, operational typeface, Shouldn’t You Be Working? (2016) is a series of stickers to be placed in any leisurely or semi-leisurely environment — from a laptop to a toilet — to act as a perpetual memento of the laboral duties ahead. Named after the text that StayFocusd, a browser plugin with more than 600,000 users, prompts when your allotted time on social media and other procrastination-friendly sites is over, SYBW allows any surface to remind remote workers that they are still tethered to the machine. Of course, though, the line between sarcasm and practical advice is thin here: will you laugh it off or be triggered back into productive mode?

Shouldn’t you be working?, Silvio Lorusso (2016)

The idea of the Entreprecariat or the Nomad as a condition, rather than an aspiration, is part of Lorusso’s historical perspective as an academic, but it is also part of his personal narrative. “The concept of Entreprecariat has a sort of cognitive dissonance you can find in the Digital Nomad as well,” he tells me. “When you come across those articles about working for a Silicon Valley start-up from a café in India, the idea is that this is a personal decision, while necessity is not accounted for. In Italy, for example, if you want to work in the design field you probably need to spend at least some time in Milan to establish a professional network. There is always an ambivalence between social pressure and personal will.”

A WiFi powered working vacation is then still a relatively adventurous endeavor, reserved to an enterprising minority. Most creative workers are still bound to a place where their human connections are physically available — they will enjoy tropical vegetation only on the interior wallpapers of laptop-friendly coffee houses, as they sit by the nearest electric socket in a corner, brushed by the sympathetic caress of a fern.

Kyle Chayka defined the globalized aesthetics of these new spaces of distributed work — the aforementioned coffee houses, co-working and co-living spaces, AirBnBs — as “AirSpace”. In a skeptical article on The Verge, the journalist describes the sterile, faux-artisanal style of interior design encouraged by Silicon Valley companies, pointing out how this kind of aesthetic gentrification is accompanying actual gentrification. In fact, we might add, this type of copy-paste development that has been putting its mark on cities all over the world — driven by “quality” tourism and freelancing — is arguably pushing towards the ultimate post-gentrification stage: short-term communities based on professional affinity and networking potential that establish themselves just as the promise of diverse living environments, once defended by a now shrinking social housing supply, is falling short.

In terms of aesthetics, Silvio has an interesting idea about the office. “I think at the moment there is an emerging nostalgia towards the office. All these hip co-working spaces that are popping up everywhere are obviously a cool, hipster response to a logistical issue. However, the office had a sort of authority to it, against which you could develop some tactics. When you go to Starbucks it’s about you creating your own productive space. The freelancer becomes its own manager and space has a very important role. These spaces have become dystopian, they are full of social propaganda. A co-working space in Amsterdam, for example, is covered with slogans like: “Everybody should like everybody”, which remind me of the dystopian sci-fi novel by Dave Eggers, The Circle. The scary thing is dystopia and reality are not separate anymore, like in the ‘boring dystopia’ idea described by Mark Fisher. A dystopia that doesn’t shock anymore, which might even make you smile.” Funny enough, the same year the AirSpace article came out on the Verge a co-working space by the same name was launched — unironically, I presume — in London.

The Best Is Yet To Come, Silvio Lorusso (2012)

The idea of the office as a dialectical space that can engender subversion has an accelerationist ring to it, a point of view that Lorusso doesn’t share. But the concept of Entreprecariat is contradictory by definition. “Greyness can become a liberation, if opposed to this forced enthusiasm. I think it’s interesting. I see this double, paradoxical process: the city is becoming an office, you look for WiFi and sockets. But the office is becoming a theme park.”

Lorusso’s attitude and nostalgia for an oppressive working environment — the likes of those evoked in the quasi-Kafkian Fantozzi, a cult-series of Italian comedies, or at the very least the Geto Boys-powered nerd rebellion of Office Space — is perhaps just a provocation. However, it is the symptom of a wider cultural awareness, one that Liu doesn’t fail to outline in The Laws of Cool. As he argues, the co-optation of subculture by the middle-class transforms what was once the appropriation of technology, aimed to hijack its rationality towards unproductive techniques, into a productive mode of self-branding itself. While inescapably embedded within the system, “cool” workers manage to cope with it by adopting a “bad attitude”. As a “code of awareness”, for Liu “cool” is “too fundamental and inchoate itself to be called an identity,” but it is “nevertheless the formative material of imagined identities promising knowledge workers some hope of alternative lives of knowledge” (Liu, 2004, 184).

It turns out, hope is not so alive and some of those lives are not so alternative: while squatting is increasingly replaced by subsidized guardianship and counter-cultural energies become enmeshed in real-estate cycles, the aesthetics of disillusion coalesce into curious and perhaps worrying forms of subcultural identification.

Hip to Be Square

Patton Oswalt, an American stand-up comedian who experienced the transformation of San Francisco from a counter-culture capital to a techie paradise first hand, has a bit that goes: “If I ever have a kid I’m gonna be a fucking amazing father. I’m gonna be the most boring, hateful father on the planet. All my friends who had hippie parents — you know what they did when they got out of high school? Got married, had kids, settled down, moved to the suburbs. And ruined everything.”

Patton Oswalt is the most amazing father

The quote above resonates with a recent Vice article by Max Daly about decreasing drug use among teenagers: an encouraging indicator that nonetheless is apparently linked to increasing pressure on performance, competition and public image. The bit might also give us a clue or two about the genealogy of the person who commented a Mute Magazine article titled “Notes on Normcore” as follows:

“Normcore is at its roots conservative, and right now, I am all for it. The time for leather jackets is done. That coincides with being done with wanting universal healthcare. I just want lower taxes, less immigrants, and for people to do as the police say when arrested. And I guess I want to wear it on my sleeve. Which is funny thinking back. But I don’t think you get it either. Its not ironic, not at heart. Its for real. Normcore evens the playing field in many ways, but it isn’t easy to pull off unless you have the physical attributes to bring to the table, and it certainly isn’t cheap. NorthFace is fairly spend, if you look. Its a bit elitist, even. I guess I am a rebel enough to say I approve. Isn’t that funny too? That normcore is one way to shout that people are NOT all the same….or even equal.”

Dated 2014, the comment is quite exemplary of the condition described earlier. Described by trend forecasting group K-Hole in 2013 as an attitude, rather than a particular code or dress, Normcore emerged for a while as a type of aesthetic of the mediocre, a proud celebration of the “nothing special” sometimes identified with the style (and perhaps the attached cynicism) of Seinfeld characters. Clothing-wise, Wikipedia defines it as unisex and consciously undistinguished rather than carelessly unfashionable. As the crowd-sourced encyclopedia reminds us, the fact that the AP Stylebook added the label in 2016 is an indicator that the term is not much in the news but not quite dead either.

In terms of cultural perspective, as the commented article by Benedict Seymour argues, Normcore was a post-hipster aesthetics that, by giving away with subcultural style, fully embraced the technologically-wired, politically disillusioned zeitgeist of the millennial generation.

Seymour writes: “We are in the (post)hipster zone, the magic circle where formerly punk or outsider styles got transvalued is now reserved for the beatification of the mainstream itself.” The author goes on: “Normcore as the simulacrum (from above) of the vanishing middle, the oligarcho-aristo-creative’s objectification of what is objectively vanishing? Normcore as dressing-up-as-shepherds-style pre-revolutionary elite condescension. Or post-Occupy spasm — of shame and appropriation? A fashion derivative, a spread, various forms of insurance at once, a mugging against being mugged, a dressing down in defensive anticipation of a further attack.”

Networked Optimization, Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg (2013)

The 99% movement was arguably Western youth’s most politically-driven attempt at collective subjectivation in a decade devoid of a dominant counter-cultural aesthetic like the ones that marked the previous ones — punk, hippie, early hip-hop, etc. Albeit ultimately failing to conjure up a common political program, the imaginary effort was a noble endeavor to bridge across style and class, reconnecting to a sort of materialism against capitalist speculation.

Politically, then, Normcore is perhaps the aesthetic reflux of the performativity trap Geert Lovink talks about in Social Media Abyss (2016). Far from being an identitarian, the Dutch theorist nonetheless points out the incapacity to build coalitions as a major flaw of the Occupy movement. “When activism promotes itself as a counter-culture,” Lovink argues, “the ability of its memes to travel outside the issue-context becomes limited and starts to run contrary to the 99% slogan” (2016, 186). Lovink’s call to get rid of the “libertarian/liberal hipster image” effectively highlights the aesthetic dimension of activism in the age of social media, often dismissed by terms like “slacktivism” or “clicktivism”.

Liu also acknowledges the political paralysis of the “cool” into a cyberlibertarian pose that puts individual liberties — free speech above all — over social justice. Significantly, cool alternative politics are more comfortable with postindustrialism than NGOs and labor activists are. In fact, such alternative politics are perhaps best represented in the Alt-Right phenomenon whose popularity exploded before the Trump election in 2016: unsurprisingly, the Alt-Right’s sworn enemies were the quickly acronymized SJW, or Social Justice Warriors, comprising third-wave feminists, intersectional identitarians and PC regulators.

Normcore, then, before the identitarian, neo-fascist simulation of Alt-Right memes, embodies an aesthetic coagulation of the frustrated, cynical sprit of a highly-educated, politically-disillusioned middle class.

Formatted Identities and Utopian Feelings

In the dark clarity of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism (2009), the psychic effects of capital have become so embedded within us that incorporation has now become “precorporation”: the pre-emptive formatting and shaping of desires, aspirations and hopes by capitalist culture (2009, 9).

Such formatting of imagination also reflects pathologically on communication and self-expression, regimenting the very networks one would expect to empower the flourishing of multiplicity.

While Liu recognizes the “oxymoronic, even manic-depressive” emotional state of “cool” (Liu, 2004, 235), according to Vito Campanelli, writing in Web Aesthetics (2010), the web is characterized by an autistic mode of expression, constituted by repetitive actions and loss of contact with external reality — a situation he associates to bloggers and reviewers in particular. The Italian scholar also highlights how monolingualism is flattening dialogue into expressive clichés that are always repeated and typify a diffuse aesthetic in which contents are reduced to their formal qualities, while “any semantic, moral or ethical properties are left aside” (Campanelli, 2010, 26–28).

Lorusso is aware of the emotional dimension of the Entreprecariat, twisted between a communicational push and an idiosyncratic pull. “There is obviously an emergency, as confirmed by all the efforts from governments like the UK to campaign for wellbeing, also because depression is a logistical problem that affects productivity,” he tells me. “But there is also an unexpressed potential. There are different levels of precarious workers. You need to be careful: I focus on a middle-class or post-middle-class, highly educated Western European workers. You talk about this informally, but professionally you wouldn’t want to brand yourself as such. This psychological dimension that emerged from the 80s, affecting so-called young people, bridges together different social strata and is an unexplored potential on a political, organizational level. This idea of a collective anxiety, as described in Bifo’s work, might help people unite, a bit like being a factory worker used to unite past generations. This idea of mental health, feelings, could lead to the development of organizational tools.”

Shouldn’t you be working?, Silvio Lorusso (2016)

Professional, demographic or subcultural labels like Creative Class, Digital Nomad or Normcore put their own spin on the millennial/knowledge worker condition, herding desires and expectations towards competitive self-affirmation or resigned nihilism. Maybe Lorusso’s work on a collective subject to channel a more nuanced emotional cocktail could be an appropriate aesthetic strategy in a utopian direction. Creating such a collective subject could leverage the viral dynamics of contemporary communication, perhaps even the stereotypical approximation of memes, to harvest (socially) productive feelings.

Liu’s investigation into the laws of cool does highlight “viral aesthetics” as a possible response to infrastructural domination, but while the scholar brought net and media art as exemplary acts of Schumpeterian creative destruction, the times were not urgent enough — namely, 2016 had not happened yet — to talk about a West-wide memetic battle to resuscitate the Left’s imagination and fend off the retrograde energies of the Alt-Right. Perhaps the collective anxiety sweeping the humanities could work as a catalyst.

“I think academia is the most affected by that type of anxiety,” Silvio tells me. “There is a Twitter account called Academic Pain and it deals with this issue, with some ironic detachment. People talk a lot about the memetic potential of the Alt-Right, and I think starting from that type of memetics, based on self-deprecation, is an interesting starting point. It would be useful to see who produces these memes and understand if they can become a flag for a movement.” Self-deprecation might feel a little to Seinfeldian, edging on Normcore, but what Lorusso is aiming for is a type of dialectic shock treatment. “Another thing I see is that schools, especially design schools, are strongly encouraged to take political positions and get involved,” he continues, “but paradoxically that could become problematic, with the risk of reducing activism to a 6-month project — working in a protected space, a sandbox for activism. Think of the 1977 movement: students were handing out flyers outside of factories, now it is much more atomized.” Instead of designer competitions to solve the world’s problems, then, an aesthetic strategy could be to renounce institutional cool altogether. “Perhaps the best thing for an enlightened school would be to go back to a grey, oppressive bureaucratic regime. I think that’s the dilemma of school as a space of organization. The greyness of brutalism, which is very cool now, is not something I wish for, but I wonder what it would engender. Perhaps a boring school would defeat the neoliberal compulsion towards self-optimization. We should aim towards boredom, bureaucracy, greyness.”

Networked Optimization, Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg (2013)

Ultimately, though, what Silvio feels is needed is a new set of “slogans, memes and chants” for the Entreprecariat, maybe even drawing inspiration from the antagonistic magick of the Alt-Right.

In one of his most interesting Entreprecariat posts, before a final appeal to San Precario, Lorusso writes: “The emotional is political, and as such it must be acknowledged. The sphere of affectivity shouldn’t be confined to the traditional boundaries of reproductive labor and the ones surrounding the exploitation –often self-exploitation– of passion and enthusiasm. Furthermore, the emotional shouldn’t be limited to its positive spectrum: we must express discomfort. ‘One laments to find comrades’, to paraphrase Breton. Agonize to organize. Hopefully, this attitude would lead to an unconditional form of solidarity, and to a refusal of an idea of class based on the comparison of material deprivation. Understanding people as emotional subjects, instead of economical ones, requires mutual faith.”

Perhaps an aesthetics of productive anxiety, then, can be a start.

References

Benedict, Seymour. “Notes on Normcore”. Mute. May 29, 2014. Accessed May 2, 2017: HYPERLINK “http://www.metamute.org/editorial/fifth-column/notes-normcore" http://www.metamute.org/editorial/fifth-column/notes-normcore

Chayka, Kyle. 2016. “Welcome to AirSpace: How Silicon Valley Helps Spread the Same Sterile Aesthetics Across the World”. The Verge. August 3, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017: HYPERLINK “https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/3/12325104/airbnb-aesthetic-global-minimalism-startup-gentrification" https://www.theverge.com/2016/8/3/12325104/airbnb-aesthetic-global-minimalism-startup-gentrification

Fisher, Mark. 2009. Capitalist Realism: Is There No alternative?. London: Zero Books.

Liu, Alan. 2004. The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lorusso, Silvio. “Precarity Feels”. The Entreprecariat. December 10, 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017: HYPERLINK “http://networkcultures.org/entreprecariat/precarity-feels/" http://networkcultures.org/entreprecariat/precarity-feels/

Lovink, Geert. 2016. Social Media Abyss: Critical Internet Cultures and the Force of Negation. Oxford: Polity.

Self, Jack. “Beyond the Self”. Superhumanity. 2016. Accessed May 2, 2017: e-flux: HYPERLINK “http://www.e-flux.com/architecture/superhumanity/68658/beyond-the-self/" http://www.e-flux.com/architecture/superhumanity/68658/beyond-the-self/

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