e.V. Verein zur Förderung von Medienkulturen in Berlin
tel: 0177 225 37 97, fax: 030 4434 18 12 [or] 313 66 78
mikro.termine mikro.self mikro.linx mikro.home
discussion on working conditions in multimedia agencies with:
#6: Net Work
WMF, Johannisstr. 20, Berlin-Mitte
They're called "knowledge workers", "digital artisans", "symbol analysts" or the "digital class". All these terms refer to a new milieu for labor which has developed in the last four years in multimedia and Internet agencies. What all these jobs have in common is not only the work with computers and the Internet, but also a very specific work culture: young employees, long hours, an abundance of freelance or "steadily employed freelance" workers, a high turnover of employees, below-average pay, but also "blitz careers". The sixth mikro.lounge was critically addressed at the working conditions in multimedia agencies.
This mikro.lounge is the only one for which there is no video or audio recording. As always, when you do something in front of an audience, you know less than anyone else what actually happened. So there is no protocol or record of this lounge.
The tone for the evening was set by a video by Berlin artists Ingo Vetter and Annette Weisser entitled "Was zählt, ist nicht, die Gegensätze aufzulösen, sondern gleichzeitig einzunehmen" ("What matters isn't resolving opposites but accepting them simultaneously"). The tape, Weisser's graduation work for the Academy of Media Art in Cologne, shows edited interviews conducted by Vetter/Weisser with artists and employees at Berlin multimedia agencies. Topically, the interviews centered on overlapping structures between the relatively free existence of the artist and that found in the new labor segment sometimes referred to as the "digital class".
Vetter/Weisser see the development in the relatively new multimedia industry as paradigmatic for a restructuring of the entire working world towards new forms of "immaterial work" (T. Negri) which demand more responsibility and flexibility of the individual. And indeed, the interviews with artists and multimedia workers showed amazing parallels with regard to the concrete organization and structure of each person's working and living conditions. This observation all but guaranteed a lively debate between the artists, the head of a Berlin agency and a representative of the union for media workers, and the audience was once again quick to become engaged in the discussion.