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Vol. 3 (2022): Reverting the Gaze: Resisting Humanism & Hegemony in the West

Critical Subjectivity in Algorave’s Post-Work Practices

August 5, 2020


Algorave is a global community dedicated to expanding the boundaries of algorithms and coding in the context of live electronic music. Through algorithms, Algorave members have discovered the power of altering music’s structure. In the face of a fully automated future, this article queries whether this power may be directed towards defying political, economic, ideological, or ethical systems. First, I present Algorave as an idiosyncratic environment of a post-work society. Second, I develop a critique of Kathi Weeks’ handling of the concept of subjectivity to question a post-work imaginary that comprises the subject. Third, I explain the pertinence of a critical subjectivity praxis for Algorave to enrich their post-work stance, whereby I suggest using their analytical lens on algorithms to prevent subjectivity from passing on to the post-human terrain. From here, I conclude that the subject of automation is the automated subject, and that a post-work society is not possible without overthrowing subjectivity. I ultimately caution the advocates of automation when pursuing post-work, for if automation manages to make subjectivity a part of algorithms with governmental impact, we will be—now and for good—automatically condemned to living as subjects, significantly reinforcing the basis of neoliberal work.