Saturday 8 April 2017, 7.30pm
Customer Service Agent is an event dedicated to call-centre workers. Dedicated to the precarity, alienation, and entrapment of call-centre work, characteristics that increasingly typify work across many sectors. Are we all becoming Customer Service Agents?
Throughout the evening, the experiences of call-centre workers will be set against Ambient Music, a genre that is now inextricably bound up with capitalist, neoliberal aesthetics.
Sam Kidel will perform a version of his recent LP, Disruptive Muzak. Jamie Woodcock will talk about his book, Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres. rkss will perform a piece that has yet to be written. Hold music will fill the gaps.
Sam Kidel will present a live version of Disruptive Muzak (Boomkat Album of the Year 2016), a piece drawing on years of experience working in call-centres. In this piece, Kidel plays unsettling, deconstructed, Muzak-like compositions down the phone to call-centre operatives working for the DWP and Home Office, departments which have administered the Conservative Party’s ‘austerity’ policies that continue to brutalise the most vulnerable in our society. The entrapped Customer Service Agents are forced off-script, and become the first audience for Kidel’s Disruptive Muzak.
Dr Jamie Woodcock is a fellow at the LSE and author of Working The Phones. His current research focuses on the digital economy, the transformation of work, and eSports. He has previously worked as a postdoc on a research project about video games, as well as another on the crowdsourcing of citizen science. Jamie completed his PhD in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and has held positions at Goldsmiths, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Queen Mary, NYU London, and Cass Business School. His research interests include: digital labour, technology, management, critical theory, and the sociology of work.
“vital reading for all those who imagine call centres as hell” - Benjamin Noys’ review of Working The Phones for Review 31
rkss is an alias of Robin Buckley, a London based sound artist. They hold German and UK passports. Their releases on UIQ, Alien Jams, Where To Now? and more have explored the materiality of film sound, YouTube and EDM sample packs through the lens of house, ambient and computer music.
Buckley also runs a radio series for Resonance Extra called Lossless Communication, which explores sound discovery in the internet era. Other recent work includes a live improvised performance with Claire Tolan in Berlin, sound design for the art website www.clubdead.io and Brostep in the Style of Florian Hecker, a multi-channel composition available for download with limited edition lanyards and a game which offers a virtual environment for listening to the composition.