Where do you want to go today?

Root Event

4. Werkleitz Biennale real[work]
Where do you want to go today?

Ways of seeing have now effectively become ways of presenting. The digital turn fuels an economic optimism that is unprecedented in its ability to incorporate widely different economic, social and cultural positions.

„An astonishing 87 % of those polled in the IRC research said they are not concerned that computers might eliminate their jobs. … While the booming economy of the past decade may continue to create new kinds of work and keep unemployment rates down, the belief that computers do not pose a threat to a great many existing jobs seems bizarre.“ (DW) NetFuture #103 (Internet and Isolation, Politics) Among the reasons for this optimism is that scarcity - the determining economic factor in an analogue world - is not a decisive notion in a digital environment where information units are matter-less, devoid of space and time. Apart from unscarcity, there is another major factor that plays a role in this „bizarre“ digital optimism, the dominance of creative skills in the information economy. It is on this paradox that our presentation will center. Creative skills (linking instead of analysing, serendipity instead of deduction) which can hardly be formally taught, are the main assets of any player in this new economy. Knowledge is replaced with the ability to find knowledge of others, and although creativity has become the most cited word in European educational policy, formal education no longer discriminates between what you are and what you can achieve. Where do you want to go today?

We are now thus effectively facing a dominant mode of discourse in which „creativity“ has become the „norm“. In such an environment, the dialectic between work as positive value in the creative and self-realising context as opposed to the burden of alienated work, has seemingly lost its rationale. It would seem that de Certeau’s concept of „la perruque“, which effectively christallizes this dialectic must be rewritten. La perruque „is the worker’s own work disguised as work for his employer. It differs from pilfering in that nothing of material value is stolen. It differs from absenteeism in that the worker is officially on the job. Accused of stealing or turning material to his own ends and using the machines for his own profit, the worker who indulges in la perruque actually diverts time from the factory for work that is free, creative, and precisely not directed towards profit.“ (de Certeau, Practice, p. 25) We are now experiencing a dominant discourse in which „free (and) creative is precisely directed towards profit“, match. We must thus find ways of writing, ways of thinking and ways of doing to come to terms with an environment that is seemingly able to function with a disturbance of the norm (creativity/ „Ausnahmezustand“) as the norm itself.

Rob van Kranenburg & Guy van Belle