Copyright 2021 © The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Working Around examines the constant productivity of the contemporary age when every space can be linked with labour and every hour can turn into a working hour. Modern modes of immaterial work have created new perceptions of the domestic space, which is returning as the epicentre of production. This has become most apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made our private homes more permeable to modern workflows. The utopian visions of the 1960s are turning into a dystopian reality.
The complexity of modern productivity becomes apparent in the value produced through our use of digital devices throughout the day. As every move on the digital space can be linked to a creation of value and our lives are getting more integrated into digital workflows, work and leisure stop being differentiated. While rooms and furniture of leisure turn into spaces of labour connected with a globalised network, traditional distinctions between private and public, work and play, rest and action collapse. Productivity is everywhere, resulting in exhaustion, distraction, and exploitation.
This project is an attempt to showcase the current situation and render its abstract aspects visible. The theme is approached through a personal gaze and experience: concrete patterns and sites of work are explored and represented through drawing, filming, and theoretical analysis.
Sites with different characteristics and geographical locations. Through the use of the device, they become occupied as spaces for labour.
As our activities move to the digital space, the borders between work and personal life are getting blurred. The device ‘watches’ our actions and ‘the algorithms become the new epistemology of life’.
‘Us as islands of labour, back turned to the Setting Sun’, Esther Leslie.