The Cubicle Island

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The Cubicle Island: Pirates, Microworkers, Spambots and the Venatic Lore of Clickfarm Humor
Author Ilan Manouach
Language English, a.o.
Publisher La Cinquième Couche, Forlaens (60€)
City Brussels, Copenhagen
Year 2020
Pages 1500
Format 18.3 cm x 26.1 cm
ISBN 978-2-3900805-1-0
E-book PDF (817 mb)

The Cubicle Island is a post-digital, conceptual comic book project. It is an experiment with the distributed ramifications of digital labor. The Cubicle Island labors silently through the products of an extremely deskilled textual workforce, both human and non-human, and embraces the epistemic and technological acceleration put forward by the interconnectedness of the global precarious. It consists of a 1500 detexted desert island cartoons, for which I have solicited some 17,000 textual contributions through the interface of a popular digital labor platform. With varied formulations for each subsequent call, I was explicitly asking contributors (both human and automation processes) to provide me with a funny text between 50-70 words for each of these cartoons. By welcoming contributions from the most generic algorithms that were haunting this project from its inception, The Cubicle Island occupies a semantic textual field, an uncanny valley of Artificial Artificial Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Without sacrificing the cartoon’s semantic complexity and reader engagement, The Cubicle Island puts the emphasis of comics in their (digitally) distributed, partly human labor. The percolation of the comic strip units through the reader swarm of the digital factories and their cheap algorithmic surrogates, calls into question the primacy of the punchline and the drawing as the defining factors of the cartoon format and the comic industry. In the age of surveillance, capitalism’s selective transparency, The Cubicle Island thematizes new formations of labor and leisure (the newly coined playbor). The Cubicle Island is a durational performance based on 50 years of desert island press cartoons that highlights the extreme isolation that comes with new regimes of work in the making of an international class of precarious cognitive workers. (from the book's initial press-release)