a world that is both everywhere and nowhere* – about presence bleed and what it means for our working life

*Cyberspace as described by John Perry Barlow

As Kevin Kelly explains, “We now live in a new economy created by shrinking computers and expanding communications.” This new economy rose from a new form of labour- liquid labour- which caused a shift to the immaterial, working with information flows instead of physical matter. This move from industrial to information work means that we no longer work on factory lines, but on computers and phones.

Organisations that function within this global network economy rely their production on information, meaning that information is their power and value. In order to achieve a shorter feedback loop in order to receive information faster, the logic of free information flows is that labour is always available and unrestrained by borders, which means workers are optimally always available.

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Considering this I made a Bad Luck Brian meme that reflects the feelings of responsibility and anxiety, also known as “anticipatory affects” that comes from the knowledge that online technologies are generally accessible outside the workplace, creating a blurred line between work and leisure as there is an constant opportunity for engaging in work. This has been described as “presence bleed” as no one is ever totally in one place anymore as our mobile devices allow us to connect anywhere, obliterating personal borders and creating an anxiety and confusion that it’s becoming substantially harder switch off and separate from work.

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