The title Open Access, adopted from Rebel Cities, David Harvey, 2012, offers two meanings. Firstly as a claim to the right to the city itself - including the atmospheric characteristics, qualities and affects on which a cities reputation may trade. And secondly, as a reference to the infinite reach of immaterial labour to enter our lives through open access to the internet.
Free-roaming, mobile internet access allows us to better understand what Maurizio Lazzarato first described as immaterial or intellectual labour in the 1970's. In his understanding processes of coding and decoding information - of mentally engaging with the tasks required by a given position, push the parameters of work into the private sphere. Subjectivity itself becomes the raw material of capital. Immaterial labour has come to characterise work and trade in the digital age with some disturbing implications.
Corporations and big businesses have typically used outsourced, often less unionised forms of labour to find cheaper means of production. For the intellectual labourer the competition that outsourcing represents is infinitely extended by the 24 hour working day that the internet makes possible. Rather than offering flexible, self organised working environments, the labourer is often at the beck and call of deadlines that concurrently span multiple international timezones.
If this form of globalised competition leads to a potentially ceaseless working day, month and lifetime, the right to 'eight hours labour, leisure and rest' is frustrated and undone. As technology allows us to escape the physical places of intellectual work such as homes, offices and factories, capitalist production becomes present and available every-where. In an age of indentured participation to the information economy it is once again time to review the dynamics between labour, public space and democracy.
For Merchant City at The Substation the market economy has been synthesised as a smell encouraging the public to discern their right to the city with their noses.