Playfield: Documentaries of Free Time, Unsalaried Work, Recreation and Idleness
a spatiotemporal essay
an installation, a photograph and a public reading (a public reading was created in a collaboration with Tomáš Uhnák)
The starting point for this work is an extensive body of images sharing a common element in the form of default identifiers. Specifically, they are the following computer file names: IMG_4432, DSCF4432, IMAG4432, L1004432, and DSC_4432. All stills and videos taken with cameras and smartphones manufactured by Apple, FujiFilm, HTC, Leica and Nikon share the same filename prefixes. It is possible to find countless images with these codes on the internet because as a rule people do not rename their photographs and videos, leaving the original filename. If you enter these default filenames in a search engine, within a fraction of a second it will come up with a seemingly endless number of images of people, animals, objects or nature from all parts of the world. That’s because each brand of camera is popular in a different region: Leica in Asia and Europe, Nikon in the US and Europe, FujiFilm in Asia and the US, Apple and HTC throughout the globe. At the same time, the products are available to a variety of social groups.
Despite being highly diverse, most of the images capture free time activities and unsalaried work. These human activities are their central theme. Each documentation thus poses the question: What do unpaid work and free time mean for our society? Although we are currently unable to precisely grasp these forms of “spacetime”, let alone define them exactly, the internet is full of them. It may well be that this position represents a starting point, indicating a possible way of extricating ourselves from the social status quo built on the adoration of remunerated work. Until we can answer the question of what free time and unpaid work mean to us, we cannot seriously think about liberating ourselves from the domination of paid work, let alone discuss it.
photo: author’s archive and Michal Czanderle