From Wages for Housework to Wages for Facebook

Image: courtesy of Laurel Ptak

Image: courtesy of Laurel Ptak

This conversation between Silvia Federici and curator and Laurel Ptak on Wednesday, November 30 explores connections between the International Wages for Housework Campaign and Wages for Facebook. The International Wages for Housework Campaign, founded in 1972, grew out of the International Feminist Collective in Italy, founded by Silvia Federici alongside Selma James, Brigitte Galtier, and Mariarosa Dalla Costa. The Campaign was formed to raise awareness of how housework and childcare are the base of all industrial work and to stake the claim that these unavoidable tasks should be compensated as paid wage labor. Wages for Facebook, founded by Laurel Ptak in 2013, draws on the 1970s feminist campaign Wages For Housework, to think through the relationships between capitalism, class and affective labor that are at stake within social media today. Debated widely in the press, at universities and via social media, the project has framed a broad public conversation about workers’ rights and the nature of labor, as well as the politics of its refusal, in our digital age.

Silvia Federici is a researcher, activist and educator. She was born and raised in Italy but came to the US in 1967 on a scholarship to study Philosophy at the University of Buffalo. Since then, she has taught at several universities in the US and also at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. She is now Emerita Professor at Hofstra University (Long Island, NY) and lives in Brooklyn. A veteran feminist activist, Federici’s work is informed by and in dialogue with the many struggles which have animated her career. In her extensive work, Federici has addressed themes of enclosure, colonialism, labour, patriarchy and racism in areas as diverse as the advance of capitalist accumulation, international development policy, the labour of “immaterial workers,” the analysis of social movement strategy and anti-colonial struggle.

Laurel Ptak works across artistic, curatorial and pedagogical boundaries to address the social and political contours of art and technology. Her projects are interdisciplinary and discursive in nature and have taken up subject matter including alternative economies, debt, feminism, intellectual property and labor. Ptak teaches in the department of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons, The New School and is Director of the artist-run space Triangle Arts Association in New York City.

This event takes place in conjunction with Once More, with Feeling (November 11 - December 23, 2016) at EFA Project Space.