The latest incarnation of the flaneur-worker project entails the transition to the New Art City virtual space. Some of my struggles with this change is that the original photography project of documenting delivery workers on the street required a re-working of the concepts being investigated.
Although much of the original motivating factors was to examine the hidden factors that mediate spontaneous gratification of desires through technical interfaces, the virtual environment is the space inhabited most of the time by delivery workers for platforms in which they find themselves embedded into.
As Ping Sun writes in 2019, “delivery workers are distinct from other digital workers because of their embeddedness in the digitalized platforms. Mobile adoption and application usage are essential prerequisites for their employment because they are integral to the entire labor process, including work assignments, performance, and evaluations” (Sun, 309). The delivery worker experiences their being in a double sense, in a stereo-ontological way – phenomenal experience from the virtual and the actual simultaneously informs the worker’s self-governance.
To this extent, the flaneur-worker is yet again re-transposed into the virtual labyrinth of data and information flows, vortices of New Art City can be manipulated and rendered yet the worker still must continue to work, albeit deformed. The image of the worker is metabolized by a virtual re-presentation. Along with photographs becoming distorted by filters, shading, overlapping onto themselves, the addition of field recordings of New York have been added to add the acoustic dimensions of the flaneur-worker’s site of (un)becoming a sovereign human being and led towards facilitating the desire fulfillment of the Other.
Sun, Ping (2019). “Your order, their labor: An exploration of algorithms and laboring on food delivery platforms in China,” Chinese Journal of Communication, 12:3, 308-323.