Hokay soh, I’m not much of a fan of virtual worlds though I’ve dabbled here and there. You prolly already know this. But recently discovered Stephanie Rothenberg’s latest project doublehappinessjeans, a Second Life
sweatshop that produces designer denim by the underpaid labor of
virtual avatars; producing the goods in both physical and digital form. Wait. What? Yeah. Watch:
Unfuckingbeliveably mindblowing opportunities for discussion around Personal Fabrication (the ideas that one day manufacturing of complex products will be conducted digitally, through digital fabrication machines, while only bits (design information) would be transferred around the world.) Basically designs would still be centrally distributed while manufacturing will become clean and compact enough to happen anywhere. Doublehappinessjeans suggests that the sweatshop endures regardless of the sophistication of design or manufacturing. Through the virtual world, low-cost labor continues to be exploited, whether to design or fabricate real or virtual goods, either through ‘gold farming‘ or simply because design itself creates interesting / easy / creative opportunities for the “workers” to produce monetizeable stuff. I need to stop thinking about this before I explode. Incedentially, tweet my business partner @neonarcade for more on gold farming. He’s well more versed in its ins and outs than I. Rock on.
From the site:
Invisible Threads is a mixed reality performance installation created by Eyebeam artists Jeff Crouse and Stephanie Rothenberg. The project explores the growing intersection between labor, emerging virtual economies and real life commodities through the creation of a designer jeans sweatshop in the metaverse Second Life. Simulating a real life manufacturing facility that includes hiring Second Life “workers” to produce real world jeans sold for profit, the project provides an insider’s view into current modes of global, telematic production.