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April 20, 2007

Electronic Loneliness


Change the world; stay home

"Post-sociologists disguised as trend tasters are projecting all their reborn enthusiasm onto the home. Their concern is directed at the army of out-of-action white- and blue-collar workers, who will be taken out of their state of anomie and unproductivity thanks to home terminals. Individual enthusiasm for techno-gadgetry is being transformed into the hope of a new economic élan. It turns out that installing new media in your own home provokes a labour situation. The combination of data highway and enhanced television will inevitably lead to the return of cottage industry in the form of virtual looms. The countryside will bloom again, traffic jams disappear, the environment will be spared and the family restored. And in all reasonableness, who wouldn't want that?

In the age of the shop floor, the open-plan office, the canteen and the meeting room, a political work climate still existed. One could still speak of spatially proximate and visible hierarchical relationships within a technically integrated division of labour. Engagement in material production fostered a compelling solidarity. This laid fertile ground for the corporate dreams of the 20th century, from Fordism and Taylorism to Japanese management and New Age. Labour unions ensured the pacification of always-latent labour unrest. After World War II in the West there thus arose a configuration which guaranteed a manageable social dynamic. Until the perpetual restructuring finally resulted in empty factories. Passion for socialism and communism disappeared just as soundlessly. The social question thus shifted from the factory gates to people's front doors. The home has thereby become the object of fantasy for political economists and other social visionaries..." From Electronic Loneliness by Adilkno with Martin Buber, Laura Martz, Mediamatic, 1995.

Posted by jo at April 20, 2007 08:17 AM