A Small Key, Rotating Along Its Axis. Harvard Design Magazine #46. 2018.
A short story about bodies, power, and desire in the automated factory. Commissioned by Harvard Design Magazine for its ‘No Sweat’ issue which challenged authors to speculate on the spaces of work in an accelerated future, and to imagine a world in which a novel ethics of labor can emerge. (Please email me for full text)
Every day I fly in. I walk down my dark gray runway where the full clatter of my unrubberized soles is permitted. The cathedral is carved up into blocks of space, each bigger than my apartment (and I do earn well, baby). Color tells me where to be—stick a yellow stripe on the ground, and I’ll follow it anywhere. I stroll on past the groups in blue that are limbering up. ROLL your shoulders back. BIG stretch toward the sky, sez their leader. Gently gently SOFT spirit fingers. WIGGLE those joints. Now tense and TENSE and make BIG STRONG CLAWS. It’s all part of a more equitable and ethical working environment, sez the handbook. In they roll to those big boys in red, those shining arms with their ten joints and their fancy ways. How they dance with those hovering sheets of metal suspended high!
TODOS SOMOS AMIGOS SEGUROS AQUÍ on the poster on the wall, in five languages.
The cathedral is full of monsters, of course it is. Oh, but we make such lovely creatures here. We make the dreadnoughts, we make the beasts. Down on the factory floor the red boys and the groups in blue haul together those 10,000 unique parts to make one big beautiful boy, ready for some spit and dazzle. Fire in their nozzles and a song in their heart, give them a lick of paint and make them shine.
I love my work. I love this. You wouldn’t catch me down on the floor, no SIR, but I bounce in each day ready to see the whirling magic. Those boys go so fast! Ten joints in full dervish spin; red claws getting a grip on a carbon-steel frame and giving it a waltz.
WE ARE ALL SAFE FRIENDS HERE.