SLU Immaterial/Biopolitical Labor I

From Hardt and Negri’s Multitude (pg 108-109):

Immaterial labor “creates immaterial products, such as knowledge, information, communication, or an emotional response,” and has two forms, which are typically combined in immaterial labor:

1) It can be primarily intellectual or linguistic — as in “problem solving, symbolic and analytical tasks, and linguistic expressions” — and produce “ideas, symbols, codes, texts, linguistic figures, images, and other such products.”

2) It can be affective, meaning that it “produced or manipulates affects such as feeling of ease, well-being, satisfaction, excitement, or passion.”

I’m beginning to catalog the immaterial labor that’s occurring in SLU and trying to get a sense of how long these companies have been operating — or operated — in the neighborhood. Some people call this intellectual labor, cultural production, or the work of the creative class, but I think H&N’s definition is much more robust. They admit the word ‘immaterial’ is ambiguous in that it can be taken as suggesting that the materiality of the body doing the work is of no consequence, and reinforce the idea that the only thing immaterial is the product: the digital rendering of a future streetscape, for example, or the feelings produced by seeing a compelling advertisement. They suggest that a more accurate definition — at least for the Foucauldians — might be ‘biopolitical labor,’ which they proceed to define as “labor that creates not only material goods but also relationships and ultimately social life itself.”

Hardt and Negri ultimately decide to keep using the term ‘immaterial’ labor because ‘biopolitics’ “presents numerous additional conceptual complexities,” but as I progress through this project, I may very well decide the Foucauldian term has its merits. Nevertheless, I’ll be engaging with this concept more in the future; in the meantime, here’s my current list of current and recently departed immaterial laborers in SLU, with a focus on people involved in ‘creative’ work. I’ll get to the Amazonians, and the other tech and biotech workers in due time.

Weber Thompson
Hughes Studio
Tyler Engle Arch
Arai Jackson Ellison Murakami
Tosh Drake Design
Landscape arch
Musa Design
Tewes Design
Hansen Belyea
Superbig Creative
Inform Seattle
Graphica Inc
RED creative
Susan K Okamoto
Gravity Creative
Product Creation Studio
Kate Walling Consulting
James Elliott Designs
Flying Squirrel Design
Cole & Weber
Weber Marketing Group
Easterday Promotions
Mobile consulting partners — mobile advertising
Alloy partnership
Viscova Marketing
Harris Group
Perbix Bykonen
Casacade Arch & Eng supplies
Creativetechs — computer service for creatives
School of Visual Concepts
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2 Responses to SLU Immaterial/Biopolitical Labor I

  1. Have you considered Photo-Tronics, Scanner Graphics, and Glazer? Perhaps Cornish?

    • Awesome, thanks! I didn’t know of the first two, but I do have the latter two. I was really surprised to find the SVC there; I thought Cornish was the only arts-related school around. Then, of course, I also heard about the branch of Northeastern University (I think) opening down there to focus on cybersecurity, I believe?

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