A gig used to mean a show played by musicians. Today, the word is newspeak for a freelance job, short-term contract or limited professional engagement of any kind. Digital platforms such as Fiverr provide the infrastructure for the so-called gig economy, a new kind of marketplace where every conceivable “gig” can be outsourced to the perfect “player.” Companies can easily find the perfect match for a job that needs doing, the story goes, and “giggers” can focus on what they’re really passionate about while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This isn’t just win-win; it’s a veritable revolution, giving “workers everywhere something to celebrate once again” (Micha Kaufman, CEO Fiverr).
The Gig Is Up calls the bluff of the gig economy’s cloud-cuckoo-land. At this Cloud Labour Night, we’ll look behind the shiny surface of platform capitalism produced by Silicon Valley’s powerful ideology machines and their local offshoots. What’s the cost of the gig economy’s promised flexibility, and who’s paying it? Are passion and creativity the true drivers of the gig economy? Or are platforms and clouds leading us back to the future of a feudalist system where the only thing workers might be able to celebrate is the right to be maximally exploited?*
Melissa Gregg (Anthropologist, Intel, US)
Constanze Kurz (Computer Scientist, Chaos Computer Club, Ger)
Willem Schinkel (Sociologist, Erasmus University, NL)
Respondent: Geert Lovink (Net Critic, Institute of Network Culture, NL)
Artistic Design: Human Index (Artist collective, NL)
Moderator: Sebastian Olma (Author/Critic, Centre for Art & Design, Avans University, NL)