With the world becoming increasingly intangible and moving towards the immaterial landscape, it is not difficult to understand the concept of ‘The Chronic Task of Sorting.’ This concept relates to the idea of ‘Liquid Labour’ and the ways in which this new form of work in our physical world can be translated so easily into the digital.
The notion of Liquid Labour first came about from Peter Drucker insisting the idea that our network paradigm is shifting from being industrial workers with machines having the power, to knowledge workers having information as power. Having this new way of working, understanding that space and time were both factors in which the coordination of a company could be successful, a new system had to be created, which prompted the shift from companies.
Instead having a Hierarchical system (centralised hub) to a decentralised system so that information could be spread effectively between smaller groups of people. This allowed for the quick coordination of smaller groups at anytime within a company. However, this was at the transaction cost of having employees/workers ‘standing reserve.’
Standing reserve to labour was the manifestation of individuals always being available and ‘presence bleeding’ due to the ‘permanent flux, constant change and structural intermediary’ of the new network paradigms and constant change of time and space in society. It was to fight between work and leisure.
Leading on from this, positions in companies such as casual, freelance and temporary employment popped up (all being forms of liquid labour) due to the new paradigm and notion of standing reserve for information flows.
Taking the company of YouTube for example (a completely decentralised network, however having the site as its main node), the website is always readily accessible with an abundance of content. However, that is not the product, instead we are the product, investing our time as our expense and not being paid for it. This is also an example of liquid labour as the information flows effectively through space and time with information as the product and currency.
The idea of ‘work based on information’ indeed leads to a horrific end of only sorting and nothing else. Imagine having to sort through all of Kayne West’s tweets. Hell.