Whose Labor is Hidden in AI-Capitalism?
Under AI-capitalism, labor seems – across classes and contexts – to be gradually becoming extinct, although labor is in fact undergoing deep transformations. Thus, at the end of the day the task is to debunk the extinction myth and to inquire how it obscures the wide-ranging restructuring of work. In other words, rather than buying into the myth of labor as a fading reality, it is necessary to look at labor as a buried reality that needs to be excavated from beneath dominant narratives and power structures. The SILENT WORKS project is launching its intervention at this critical juncture. Encompassing an exhibition, a conference, and texts, the project is curated by journalists/researchers Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki and organized by Berliner Gazette in cooperation with Haus der Statistik – two Berlin-based initiatives working towards the commons by exploring the potential of hybrid forms of collective agency.
“art” and “work”
The space is structured into inter-connected artwork clusters and blank clusters.
The artistic contributions – when not positioned as individual nodes in the net of works – are assembled into thematic groups: from the hidden labor in large scale geoengineering projects and tech-driven urban transformation, to the juxtaposition of old and new forms of hidden labor (undervalued, unwaged, unhumaned, or illegalized labor), to the psychological dimension of how AI-capitalism’s assembly line morphs into the everyday and into the homes of laborers recruited by platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Co-creating social space
To actively energize these tensions, events will be staged, including a three-day conference and several artist talks (see below). Moreover, groups from within the project’s network of partners are invited to use the exhibition’s blank clusters. Vitalizing these blank clusters as potential work platforms while keeping access to the artwork clusters open, the exhibition design enables the ongoing creation of encounters between “art” and “work.”
In times of Covid-19-related social distancing, “Silent Works. The Hidden Labor in AI-Capitalism” offers the possibility to collectively redefine how co-creating social space can come about while practicing and demonstrating the kind of responsibility and solidarity so urgently required today.
Booklets + Online Dossiers
Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki, Berlin, October 2020
Registration required for events: If you are interested in attending events like the exhibition opening, artist talks, and public talks of the conference (see below), please note that admission is free. However, since capacities are limited due to Covid-19-related measures, please register by email under info(at)berlinergazette.de
Exhibition opening hours: Wed-Sat 1-7 p.m. Free admission. Please wear a face mask and practise social distancing when entering and exploring the exhibition.
Watch a video statement by Benjamin Heisenberg about his contribution to the exhibition.
If you are interested in attending the artist talks, please note that admission is free. However, since seats are limited due to Covid-19-related measures, please register by email under info(at)berlinergazette.de
The public talks will take place at 5 p.m. on November 12, 13, and 14, 2020. If you are interested in attending the talks, please note that admission is free. However, since seats are limited due to Covid-19-related measures, please register by email under info(at)berlinergazette.de
Moderation: Holger Kral + Cassie Thornton. Guests: Felix Diefenhardt, Gosia Jagiello, Dia Kayyali, Katrin Kämpf, Aude Launay, Shintaro Miyazaki, Felix Nickel, Catherine Sotirakou, Mira Wallis.
Moderation: Jose Miguel Calatayud + Magdalena Taube. Guests: Géraldine Delacroix, Inga Lindarenka, Victoria Martinez, Monisha Caroline Martins, Julia Molin, Rebecca Puchta, Lira Ramadani, André Rebentisch.
Dull, Dangerous + Dirty
Moderation: Sabrina Apitz + Masha Burina. Guests: Sana Ahmad, Desmond Alugnoa, Miriam Arentz, Mika Buljevic, Kerstin Guhlemann, Friederike Habermann, Clemens Melzer, Kevin Rittberger, Sotiris Sideris, Martina Staneva.
Moderation: Niccolò Cuppini + Ela Kagel. Guests: Moritz Altenried, Jochen Becker, Régine Debatty, Katharina Höne, Alexander Klose, Tanja Krone, Oliver Lerone Schultz, Juliane Rettschlag, Gabriele Schliwa, Mathana Stender.
Moderation: Max Haiven + Yonatan Miller. Guests: Lara Luna Bartley, Manuela Bojadžijev, Daphne Büllesbach, Juan Caballero, Bronwyn Frey, Peter Hermans, hvale, Marta Peirano, Gustavo Sanroman, Brett Scott, Laura Wadden.
Under the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki wrote a postscript to the introductory essay inquiring what it means to be “Working, Working Together, and Networking During the Web-Hype of the Pandemic” and how – along the way – we can debunk AI-driven capitalism’s myths. In a separate postscript Krystian Woznicki explores health and care work “On the Edges of Democracy.”
Dario Azzellini about capitalism’s system error as “disaster” and opportunity for labor struggles; Christine Braunersreuther about why the “system relevance” of care workers can no longer be denied; Sujatha Byravan about what the “corona crisis” means for mobile laborers in India – and the world at large; Niccolò Cuppini about the explosion of authoritarianism and labor struggles in Italy’s “War on Corona;” Kerstin Guhlemann about health protection in Industry 4.0 and humans as a disruptive factor; Angela Mitropoulos about the labor of saving lives and saving capitalism; Tom Holert about learning as labor and re-inventing ‘the school’ along the lines of ‘the factory,’ Eiji Oguma about why the ‘robotization of care work in Japan’ is a misleading myth, and Katja Schwaller about how invisibilized work is made visible during the “corona crisis.”
Beiträge auf Deutsch
Darüber hinaus sind nur dort folgende Beiträge zu lesen: “An/Greifbar: Warum BerlinerInnen gegen die digitale Kolonialisierung ihrer Stadt aufbegehren” von Jochen Becker, “Wo beginnt der Krieg? Widerstände gegen militärisch-industrielle Forschungs-Black-Boxes” von Christian Heck, “Wer arbeitet im Maschinenpark? Logistik, Künstliche Intelligenz und die Infrastruktur des Alltags” von Alexander Klose, “Abschaffung der Arbeit? Künstliche Intelligenz, Kapitalismus und Transhumanismus” von Janina Loh und “Kybernetische Proletarisierung: Wie in der Pandemie existierende Konflikte verschärft werden” von Simon Schaupp.
Beiträge zu den SILENT WORKS-Fragestellungen können im Umfang von 10.000 Zeichen bis zum 30.9.2020 unter info(at)berlinergazette.de eingereicht werden.
Photos from the Kickoff
Exploring hidden labor in AI-capitalism, we organized a SILENT WORKS kickoff event at the transmediale on January 31 (top) and a SILENT WORKS warm-up event at Modell Berlin on September 23 (bottom). The photographer Andi Weiland captured some precious moments. Besides the photos presented here, there are more of Andi’s superb photos in this flickr album.
The curators of the SILENT WORKS project are Magdalena Taube and Krystian Woznicki. Magdalena is editor-in-chief of the internet newspaper Berliner Gazette and professor of Digital Media and Journalism at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. She is the author of “Disruption des Journalismus” (2018) published by Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam and co-editor of numerous anthologies, including “A Field Guide to the Snowden Files” (2017). Her curatorial projects include “Signals. The Snowden Files in Media, Archives and Arts” (2017) and “BQV. Büro für Qualifikation und Vermögen” (2012). Krystian is a critic, photographer, and the co-founder of Berliner Gazette. Blending writing and photography, he has created books such as “After the Planes” (2017), co-authored with Brian Massumi, “Fugitive Belonging” (2018), and his most recent work “Undeclared Movements” – published by b_books in February 2020. His curatorial projects include “As Darkness Falls” (2014), “Temporary Embassies” (2008), and “Young Japanese Cinema” (1999).
The venue hosting SILENT WORKS was built in 1968-70 in the middle of Berlin – initially as the seat of the State Central Administration for Statistics (SZS) of the German Democratic Republic. With the reunification of Germany it then became federal property. Since 2008, the Haus der Statistik has been empty. 50,000 sqm vacancy right at Alexanderplatz, in the middle of Berlin, where most people are suffering from the consequences of real estate speculation and gentrification. An artistic protest campaign at the Haus der Statistik got things moving in 2015. Shortly thereafter, the Haus der Statistik initiative was founded, an alliance of various Berlin actors: social and cultural institutions, art collectives, architects, foundations and associations supporting the goal of creating affordable spaces for displaced user groups in the city center. By founding the Cooperative for Urban Development (“ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG”), in April 2016, the initiative became capable of action and legal capacity, subsequently forming an association between 5 partners (KOOP5) from civil society and administration. This association is oriented towards the common good and the diversity of uses – developing the Haus der Statistik as a space for cooperative living and working. A basis for this ambitious goal will be created by ‘pioneer uses’. During the current planning and construction phase, these pioneer uses – set on the ground floors – will contribute to shaping the future of the complex.
The organization behind the SILENT WORKS project is Berliner Gazette (BG) – a nonprofit and nonpartisan team of journalists, researchers, artists and coders. We experiment with and analyze emerging cultural as well as political practices. Since 1999 we have been publishing berlinergazette.de under a Creative Commons License – with more than 1,000 contributors from all over the world – as well as organizing conferences and editing books. Latest BG projects include 2019: More World – BG con | 2018: Ambient Revolts – BG con | 2017: Signals – Exhibition | A Field Guide to the Snowden Files – Book | Friendly Fire – BG con | 2016: Tacit Futures – BG con | 2015: UN|COMMONS – BG con | 2012: BQV. Büro für Qualifikation und Vermögen – Documentary | 2006: McDeutsch – Book.
If you want to get updates on the SILENT WORKS project, please follow BG. For instance, you can keep in touch on twitter or on facebook. Please use the Hashtag #SilentWorks when posting messages on social networks. If you wish to be updated via email, you are very welcome to join our mailing lists. On our English language mailing list we share updates on BG projects as well as initiatives from our network associates and neighbors. You can subscribe here. On our German language mailing list we provide updates on what we publish in the online newspaper berlinergazette.de as well as selected info on events in Berlin. Please find more information and a subscription option here.