Michael Mandiberg: Workflow

Multiple Locations
January 1, 2017–January 1, 2018

Workflow is a project by Art + Technology Lab grant recipient Michael Mandiberg. The artist uses self-tracking technology to understand the changing definition of labor in the digital age. The endeavor has multiple components, including a one-year sonic installation, Quantified Self Portrait (Rhythms), in LACMA’s Pritzker Parking Garage elevators, and a three-channel video, Quantified Self Portrait (One Year Performance), which ran at LACMA’s Ray’s & Stark Bar from February 16, 2017 to August 8, 2017.Postmodern Times, the artist’s remake of Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times, will debut in LACMA’s Brown Auditorium on December 19, 2017.

Quantified Self Portrait (Rhythms) sonifies a year of the artist’s heart rate data alongside the sound of email alerts. Mandiberg uses himself as a proxy to hold a mirror to a pathologically overworked and increasingly quantified society, revealing a personal political economy of data. The piece plays for one full year, from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2018, with each moment representing the data of the exact date and time from the previous year.

Quantified Self Portrait (One Year Performance) is a frenetic stop motion animation composed of webcam photos and screenshots that software captured from the artist’s computer and smartphone every 15 minutes for an entire year; this is a technique for surveilling remote computer labor. The images are paired with the short distillations of what Mandiberg learned each day during the durational performance.

The production of Postmodern Times used digital labor sourced from Fiverr.com’s work marketplace. Each clip was produced by different workers, resulting in a fragmented and chaotic film that reflects the conditions of digital labor itself. The film’s screening schedule is in accordance with California state labor laws, stopping for legally mandated breaks, mirroring the schedule of a once routine but now atypical workday.


Workflow is supported by LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab.

The Art + Technology Lab is presented by: 

The Art + Technology Lab is made possible by Accenture, with additional support from Google and SpaceX.

The Lab is part of The Hyundai Project: Art + Technology at LACMA, a joint initiative exploring the convergence of art and technology.

Quantified Self Portrait (Rhythms) was organized by LACMA's Art + Technology Lab. Quantified Self Portrait (One Year Performance) was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Image: Courtesy Michael Mandiberg and Denny Gallery NYC