More art imitating work

by Edward Cone

My first thought when I read Adrianna’s meditation on “an interpretive-dance performance about urban life, the daily grind, and an unhealthy attachment to technology” was, man, I need to get out more.

My second thought: There is a lot of meaningful art about technology (you could start with Mary Shelley, if not Icarus, and keep on going to The Matrix and beyond) and there’s plenty of art about work (my preferences run to Something Happened and the Ricky Gervais version of The Office), but maybe not so much art about workplace technology.

Then I spent entirely too long on YouTube watching Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, and realized that he pretty much nailed it in 1936. Robots may have taken on much of the work Chaplin’s character was doing back then, but anyone who works with more up-to-date technology will relate to his experiences – and his inability to stop going through the motions of work when he’s done (watch both clips, they start out looking similar but go different places:

Edward Cone is Deputy Director of Thought Leadership at Oxford Economics