Digital Labor

Tyler Coburn


Tyler Coburn is an artist and writer based in New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Coburn’s writing has appeared in frieze, e-flux journal, Mousse, Art-Agenda and Rhizome, among others. His performances, sound works and installations have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; South London Gallery; Kunstverein Munich; CCA Glasgow; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; CAC Vilnius; LAXART, Los Angeles; and SculptureCenter, New York.

I’m that angel is a book and series of performances sited in data centers. The protagonist of the text is a content farmer, filing articles based on words peaking in Google Trends. A high quota of trending language, the wisdom goes, will trick the algorithm into awarding higher search rankings, yielding more “eyeballs” on the article—a standard metric of our online value.

Writing from this perspective was an exercise in claiming time and space in a field of production structured by quotas of language. Given that we rarely register strict delineations of personal and waged computer work, Coburn envisaged the spans between buzzwords as spaces to disclose the character’s inner life through anecdotes, speculations, anxieties, rants and the bits and bobs of cultural matter that periodically seed our individual content farms. The method is provisional—and the cultural analysis sometimes cripplingly pessimistic—but there’s also a belief in the book about the literary possibilities for the programmatic and vernacular languages of the Internet.

For the conference, Coburn will deliver a presentation on industrialized, online writing, as well as give a reading from his book for a small audience.

24/7 Work
Sat, November 15
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Reading from I'm that angel
Sat, November 15
05:00 PM - 05:45 PM