lecture series: „on interactivity“ – prof. dr. trebor scholz

29 Nov

Title of the Lecture: „Digital Prozac: Labor and the Business of Life“

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Trebor Scholz

Date: Monday, January 7th, 2013

Place: ZHDK, Ausstellungsstrasse 60, CH-8005 Zurich. Room SQ 502

Time: 5:30 pm

organized by Karmen Franinovic (Interaction Design Program)


This talk, Digital Prozac: Labor and the Business of Life is based on the recently published book Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, edited by Scholz.

Have you ever thought of your social media life as labor? Did you consider that with each search, tweet, or video upload you help to raise the bottom line for online intermediaries? Emerging work environments online are about both, the agency of the user and exploitation. The presentation is optimistic about the benefits of digital labor but tempered about the public awareness of its social costs. How does the intertwining of play, work and pleasure complicate our understanding of exploitation, for example? Scholz will start out by discussing some similarities between the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 and labor practices on emerging platforms like Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk or TxtEagle.

Over the past four years, under the slogan „You can’t share us!,“ a growing number of people is becoming aware of the price of their freely given gifts; they demand fair work conditions, they organize, and build alternative infrastructures.


R. Trebor Scholz is Associate Professor at The New School in NYC in the Culture and Media department. Scholz is the editor of several collections of essays including Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, 2012). In 2011, he authored, with Laura Y. Liu, From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City. With Omar Khan and Mark Shepard, he edited the Situated Technologies series of 9 books and, with Geert Lovink, The Art of Free Cooperation (Autonomedia, 2007). His forthcoming monograph with Polity offers a history of the Social Web and its Orwellian economies.

Scholz frequently lectures at conferences and festivals with recent venues including Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, The Obama White House, and Transmediale. Trebor Scholz chaired seven major conferences, including the Internet as Playground and Factory (http://digitallabor.org/) and MobilityShifts (http://mobilityshifts.org). He is also the founder of the Institute for Distributed Creativity that is internationally known for its online discussions of critical network culture.






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