Throwing Shoes into the Machine in 2019

Grayson Earle / Brooklyn, USA — Jul 6, 2019

Grayson Earle, »Throwing Shoes into the Machine in 2019«, 2019, Rigged Systems

I seek to connect the precariat to our history of antagonism as workers. To do this I propose a small series of tools and open source software that speculate about the role of technology in the growing international labor movement. I think of this series as a »Counter-Productivity Suite« for workers in crisis. It is both an open source wealth of directly applicable tools for striking workers, and a prism that connects these emerging critical technologies to historical reference points that give them meaning. The tools will be displayed as open source software and diagrams alongside text and images of historic examples of workplace resistance.

There are two central questions that guide my thinking on this work: What good does it do to connect current political movements to a historical context? Or from my own position as a cultural producer, what do speculative technologies stand to gain from a narrative that roots them in a historical practice?

The root of »sabotage« is an old French word for shoe, »sabot.« When the peasants arrived in Industrial Paris to meet unfair labor conditions they resorted to disrupting the means of production, at times by throwing their wooden shoes into the machinery. I wonder: What is the shoe, and what is the machine in the year 2019?

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