[iDC] On Immaterial Labour

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 21:11:36 UTC 2007

I read the blog and the articles in question, and I wanted to add a
comment.  I apologize if this is something that has already been
addressed here (I've just signed up)...

But my current research is preoccupied with stories (movies, novels,
tv shows, etc.) that deal with the "prosopoetic subject" (one whose
image is drawn out from fields data).  I had not used "immaterial
labor" to describe the vast amounts of cultural work that are
necessary for the sort of datamining projects that the managment class
dreams of.  From the police profiling to direct mail politics, from
commercial marketing to mental health assessment, from trend scouts to
academically-trained futurists, the term "immaterial labor" is as
urgent as it ever has been.

While there is the relatively tangible investment (of hours) that
users add to the value of sites like myspace and youtube, there are
also less tangible, passive, but highly lucrative resources that these
sites can capitalize on:  1) The development of standardized, detailed
personal profiles tied to browsing patterns, quizzes, and social
networks.  It's a market researchers dream.  2) The opportunity to
guide the process of identity and community formation.  Altogether,
it's a massive experiment in social research and engineering.

I don't imagine that I can fully comprehend the scope and scale of
market research in the "New Economy," so I would be interested in
talking to people who might share this interest.

Davin Heckman

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