The cyber space is a non-neutral space of constant contestation. Multiple dualisms ensue; the individual and the space, the individual and the platform and the individual with their own self-image. It becomes really important, then, to critically engage with the space, decolonize it and reclaim it. The hyper presence of the algorithm in our daily lives means our awareness and engagement need to be active as much as it is theoretical. This reading group ensures just that.

During the course of this reading group, we will look at the (in)justice which this contestation brings. Since the algorithm and its ensuing injustice are both ubiquitous, we will look at the various areas of human experience which they touch. The 10 areas detailed below grant us 10 sessions of discussion, and 10 opportunities to build a creative manifesto of the ideas discussed. The results of the discussion and the creative process will then be on display.

This reading group On Algorithmic (in)equality is initiated and curated by Abdel-Rahman Hassan, as part of the Future based platform.

Reading Session #3 WORK

“It is the work to live more colorfully, beautifully; to be the hero of your own show. Engaging in glamour labour is to work to look like, and be like, your tightly edited, selfie’d, highly-filtered image in the flesh.” – Elizabeth Wissinger Professor of Sociology at City University of New York

Glamour labour helps celebrities, models and individual consumers build a personal image in everyday life and through social media. Recently, the concept of glamour labour have been extended with the idea that ‘coolness’ is a process by which the ever-morphing ideal seduces publics into chasing it (are you?). And with that, glamour labour has become a common aspiration, no longer the exclusive domain of the Kardashians or a selective view. But what exactly are we gaining by playing along this game of expensive marketing? And what are we possibly losing on the way? 1

The same questions go for another world wide web based trend, that has taken over the economy. How many times did you read in a blog that the largest taxi company in the world has no cars, and the biggest accommodation provider owns no real estate? Or, what to think about the most powerful tool for searching information, that doesn’t own any information itself, except maybe the data trails you are leaving behind. Well hello, Airbnb, Google and Uber!

What are the downfalls in using the services of those technological matchmakers, influencers, and air-dealers? In this reading session we will explore the good, the bad and the ugly of Glamour Labor and the Platform Economy.


Date: 25th of January

Location: Digital Society School. Kattenburgerstraat 5, Amsterdam.

Time: 19:30 – 21:15

Banner: Dana Dijkgraaf