LAUREL PTAK


Based in NYC. Working across curatorial, artistic &
pedagogical boundaries with attention to the social,
political contours of art, technology & everyday life.


Part-Time Faculty, The New School
Co-Editor, Undoing Property?
Director, Triangle NYC


Upcoming, Recently

April 12——Whose Terms? New Perspectives on Social Practice
at New Museum in NYC

March 21——The Commons, Enclosures, and Mutual Aid: Anthropology
and Social Change Conference
in San Francisco

March 19——Wages For Facebook at the Kadist Art Foundation in
San Francisco

February 13——Uncommons Commons workshop at the media lounge
at CAA in Chicago

February 11——And How Are We Feeling Today? workshop at the
University Art Gallery at UC San Diego

Past
As a fellow at Eyebeam I worked on the project Wages For Facebook which draws upon ideas from a 1970s international feminist campaign as means to think through relationships of capitalism, class and affective labor at stake within social media today. In the 70s Wages For Housework demanded that the state pay women for their unwaged housework and caregiving, as the market economy was built upon massive amounts of this unacknowledged work——and its laborers could be seen to constitute a huge working class entirely overlooked by existing Marxist or socialist critiques. Wages for Housework built upon discourse from the anticolonial movement in order to extend the analysis of unwaged labor from the factory to the home. Along these lines Wages For Facebook attempts to draw upon feminist discourse to extend the discussion of unwaged labor to new forms of value creation and exploitation online.
In 2012 Facebook reached more than 1 billion users and generated a revenue of 5.1 billion dollars. It is the first social-media website to be traded on the stock exchange wherein all content on its site is created by its users. Is what we do on Facebook work? How would we calculate our value? What could an alternate form of social media, based on an idea of the commons or a feminist praxis, look like?
When it launched in January 2014 wagesforfacebook.com was graced with over 20,000 views and rapidly and internationally debated on Facebook, Twitter and in the press——clearly touching a collective nerve and beginning a broader public conversation about worker’s rights and the very nature of labor, as well as the politics of its refusal, in our digital age.
Wages For Facebook has included public lectures, discussion-based workshops and installations, so far as part of:
The Photographic Universe conference, organized by artist Arthur Ou, The New School, New York, April 2013
Core Studio course taught by a Huong Ngo & Audra Wolowiec at Parsons, New York, April 2013
Visions of The Now festival for art and technology, organized by artist Anna Lundh, Stockholm, May 2013
Facebook borde betala oss! Eller? article on Wages For Facebook by Håkan Lindgren in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, June 2013
Stop Work at Eyebeam, New York, August 2013
Key Lecture at The Photographers’ Gallery, organized by artist/writer/curator Katrina Sluis, London, September 2013
And How Are We Feeling Today? exhibition and workshop curated by Michelle Hyun at the University Art Gallery at the University of California San Diego, January-February 2014Media Lounge organized by artist Jenny Marketou at the College Art Association conference, Chicago, February 2014
Kadist Art Foundation talk and workshop curated by Christina Linden, San Francisco, March 2014
Wages For Facebook article by E. Alex Jung in Dissent, April 2014.
They say it’s friendship. We say it’s unwaged work. With every like, chat, tag or poke our subjectivity turns them a profit. They call it sharing. We call it stealing. We’ve been bound by their terms of service far too long——it’s time for our terms…
Image: Wages For Facebook campaign materials, posters designed by Eric Nylund, fist logo on pins created by artist Anna Lundh

As a fellow at Eyebeam I worked on the project Wages For Facebook which draws upon ideas from a 1970s international feminist campaign as means to think through relationships of capitalism, class and affective labor at stake within social media today. In the 70s Wages For Housework demanded that the state pay women for their unwaged housework and caregiving, as the market economy was built upon massive amounts of this unacknowledged work——and its laborers could be seen to constitute a huge working class entirely overlooked by existing Marxist or socialist critiques. Wages for Housework built upon discourse from the anticolonial movement in order to extend the analysis of unwaged labor from the factory to the home. Along these lines Wages For Facebook attempts to draw upon feminist discourse to extend the discussion of unwaged labor to new forms of value creation and exploitation online.


In 2012 Facebook reached more than 1 billion users and generated a revenue of 5.1 billion dollars. It is the first social-media website to be traded on the stock exchange wherein all content on its site is created by its users. Is what we do on Facebook work? How would we calculate our value? What could an alternate form of social media, based on an idea of the commons or a feminist praxis, look like?


When it launched in January 2014 wagesforfacebook.com was graced with over 20,000 views and rapidly and internationally debated on Facebook, Twitter and in the press——clearly touching a collective nerve and beginning a broader public conversation about worker’s rights and the very nature of labor, as well as the politics of its refusal, in our digital age.


Wages For Facebook has included public lectures, discussion-based workshops and installations, so far as part of:


The Photographic Universe conference, organized by artist Arthur Ou, The New School, New York, April 2013


Core Studio course taught by a Huong Ngo & Audra Wolowiec at Parsons, New York, April 2013


Visions of The Now festival for art and technology, organized by artist Anna Lundh, Stockholm, May 2013


Facebook borde betala oss! Eller? article on Wages For Facebook by Håkan Lindgren in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, June 2013


Stop Work at Eyebeam, New York, August 2013


Key Lecture at The Photographers’ Gallery, organized by artist/writer/curator Katrina Sluis, London, September 2013


And How Are We Feeling Today? exhibition and workshop curated by Michelle Hyun at the University Art Gallery at the University of California San Diego, January-February 2014

Media Lounge organized by artist Jenny Marketou at the College Art Association conference, Chicago, February 2014


Kadist Art Foundation talk and workshop curated by Christina Linden, San Francisco, March 2014

Wages For Facebook article by E. Alex Jung in Dissent, April 2014.


They say it’s friendship. We say it’s unwaged work. With every like, chat, tag or poke our subjectivity turns them a profit. They call it sharing. We call it stealing. We’ve been bound by their terms of service far too long——it’s time for our terms…


Image: Wages For Facebook campaign materials, posters designed by Eric Nylund, fist logo on pins created by artist Anna Lundh