Bring in the Reality

Artist Jeff Crouse works with various technological programming to create software and installations that address technology’s mounting ubiquity. Stephanie Rothenberg often incorporates media and technology in her installations to expose our falsely utopic notions of urbanization, and explore its actual economic, political, and environmental impacts. Together, the two artists created 10 Simple Steps to Your Own Virtual Sweatshop with Telematics Manufacturing (2008).

Developed in the online virtual world “Second Life,” the video focuses on inequity and socially unacceptable working conditions. “Are oppressive labor laws and expensive real estate prices getting in the way of your dream of owning your own shop?” asks the video’s narrator, who shows viewers how to manufacture goods using telecommunications to direct remote human workers. In this virtual world, environmental concerns and activism are a thing of the past. Instead, a model of indentured servitude, one that strips the workplace of humanity and dignity, presides.