[-empyre-] Week 2: Intersubjects

Sarah Montross sjmontross at gmail.com
Fri Jul 17 22:09:23 AEST 2015

Hi all,
Apologies for the delayed posting, I sent this in earlier, but didn't use
"plain text" so I'm thinking my original post got delayed so I'm trying
again. I am enjoying the conversation threads thus far, and as I was
re-reading the introductory text by Ileana and Calin a few connections came
to mind.

In relation to the topic of sleep’s extreme subjectivity, I thought of the
relatively new book by Jonathan Crary titled 24/7: Late Capitalism and the
Ends of Sleep in which he argues that sleep offers a radical withdrawal
from the bombardment of capitalist’s demands for our constant attention in
the form of online advertisement as well as the expectation to be
around-the-clock workers. This article provides a good overview of the
book, and here is a short passage that I found particularly relevant:
“sleep is the last unleveraged form of human activity and it is violently
threatened by a world in which the divisions between night and day, between
rest and work, are disappearing due to mutations in the experience of time
produced by unceasing digital networks, new metrics for productivity, and
ever-expanding forms of control and surveillance.”

The topic of sleep deprivation and labor also brought to mind the sci-fi
movie Sleep Dealer (2008) by Mexican filmmaker Alex Rivera. In this
dystopian world set on the US/Mexico border, Mexican workers are “plugged
in” to virtual reality machines known as “sleep dealers” to provide labor
for low-income jobs in the United States (construction worker, child care,
etc) without having to physically travel across the border. Many Mexican
workers are shown in the film to work to utter exhaustion, after going
without sleep for days.

I would be curious to know if you all see connections between these above
topics and that of virtual reality/augmented reality that you were
previously discussing?

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