Human feelings, emotional work and art fairs. Benjamin Fallon observes ways to interact and links between negativity and constructive criticism, from the curatorial to office space organization.
In 1983 the feminist sociologist Arlie Russell-Hochschild published The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling based on years of on the ground research into what she would term ‘emotional labor’. The book follows two forms of gendered labour, primarily air hostesses but later in a less discussed aspect debt collectors, tracing how in their working lives they are trained to perform a supposed interior essence. In her analysis she develops the idea of deep acting, linking it to the theatre director Stanislavski’s method acting, differing from the more superficial niceties we enact daily to smooth social interaction, deep acting moves from the attempt to persuade others to a more profound alteration of oneself to respond to stimulus differently. We are now 30 years on from the publishing of the Managed Heart’s first edition and things have changed, written in America at the start of widespread deindustrialization and only two years into Reagan’s tenure (1), we have seen a shift in the ‘West’ to a finance economy supported by a service sector of emotional workers. Emotional work has been expanded into almost every aspect of labor and ongoing precarisation, brought about by flexibility, means we are more often than not in sales mode, selling ourselves on the open market, looking for the next job.