JAKOB
SCHNETZ

ULTIMA THULE - PPT GROUP (2017-2018)
"People Place Technology"

Wage labor is the center of life of almost all people. It defines everyday life in all respects, often more than forty years of a life. ‚Work‘ has changed dramatically in recent centuries and is undergoing an epochal upheaval since the industrialisation as a result of the digitization. Of particular importance in this context is the so-called ‚work 4.0‘, which is used to describe these transformation processes of labour. They can be rewritten along three key figures: People, Place, Technology. The advancing flexibilisation of working conditions and working places are just some of the keywords that serve to increase the efficiency of companies and thus take account of the compulsion of growth which are inherent in the system of capitalist economy.

The acceleration of the market through the Internet requires increasing flexibility in companies due to global competition. Products and services can and must be distributed faster. This is not without consequences for the employment relationships that must meet this agility. Through mixed forms of full-time and part-time work, temporary work and self-employment, the capacities of human resources can always be optimally adapted to the required number and thus personnel costs can be saved. The place where human ressources work is also being made more flexible. The use of mobile work inside and outside the company office offers advantages from an entrepreneurial as well as an employee perspective. First of all, the link between private and professional life can be cited, which is no longer mutually exclusive.
The place of work can be individually and optimally attuned to the job and, in the same way, the time when the most concentrated and motivated human ressources can carry out this activity, thus increasing productivity. At the same time, working outside the office and sharing desks and conference rooms accounts for a large portion of the office costs, which, in terms of labor costs, are the second largest cost in business after personnel costs.

When Marx wrote about the ‚ultima thule‘, the extreme limit of the working day, the efficiency increase and profit maximization in his time was still characterized by the maximum extension of the working day in favor of increasing the overtime compared to the necessary working time. Today, this term is current in a different way: it is not the duration of the work that is increased, but its density.
The alienation from the increasingly abstract work is to be counteracted by team-building and identification-based measures, based on the recognition that motivation and identification with the activity carried out significantly increases their productivity

The photographic essay takes a critical look at the current transformation of ‚work‘ in German service and IT companies, where 70 percent of the working population work. But, the examination of the photographs is not just about the topic ‚work‘ per se. Against the background of a socially dominant, neo-liberal belief in growth, attention should also be paid to the representation of the topic „work“, since photography as a medium of conveying meaning is always to be regarded in context of social intuitions of the subject.
The visual language of the photographic series was adapted to common corporate photography while rupturing the look trough the depicted situations, starting creating an irritation that serves as an interruption to familiar readings so as to demand a new perspective on the complex of themes. Taking up this motif as well, in the photographs self-stagings of the companies were mixed with observed and strongly interpreted situations in order to question the common understanding of photographic truth or evidence which is connected to its character of conveying meaning.