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Digital Wonderland in Neoliberalism

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Digital Wonderland in Neoliberalism is going to discuss self-alienation in the new employment relationship. The theme stems from my observation of delivery workers in the Internet age.

At present, we are in a social environment influenced by Post-Marxism and Neoliberalism. In a beautiful disguise of freedom and self-realization, alienation in labor relations has shown more features than what was described in the theory of alienation, giving rise to self-alienation. Self-alienation mainly manifests itself as the functional subject regarding itself as an object to be perfected and optimized, the tendency of which has been strengthened after the emergence of the Internet. Internet of Everything and Total Communication put us in an era of Like, and the negativity of "otherness" disappears and is replaced by compromise and approval. So, the optimization pressure with the nature of self-exploitation no longer comes from "otherness", but from oneself.

The new employment relationship was born in the above social environment. On the surface, it breaks the traditional working model of employers-employees and allows employees to flexibly choose the working time, hours and places. It is a false illusion of freedom created by neoliberalism, in which employees are willing to exploit themselves and naively think that they are realising their values, and this self-alienation also eliminates the possibility of resistance and revolution.

On the other hand, neoliberalism makes work gamified by emotional capitalism and digital technology, encouraging enthusiastic employees to participate in the game, and improving productivity and efficiency in the game scoring mechanisms such as like, praise, time limit, and real-time positioning. Finally getting rid of the oppression of employers, employees fell into the trap of algorithms. In the end, countless employees are indulged in the illusion of freedom and the game of algorithms.

In my work, I used animation elements such as scoreboard and maze map to show the gamification of work and used mushroom as a metaphor: neoliberalism is a poison in beautiful disguise. The place where I grew up is rich in all kinds of delicious but highly toxic mushrooms. Every year increasing people from all over the world come here to taste them at the risk of life. I found that people's enthusiasm for these mushrooms is the same as employees' enthusiasm for the illusion of freedom. So mushrooms, as a visual symbol, popped into my head first.

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