By Melanie Swalwell
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57 Apart from further standardising a particular conception of performance, administering assessments which seek to ‘type’ or determine ‘compatibility’ raises significant questions regarding performativity’s tolerance of difference. After all, what if you’re deemed not ‘compatible’? ” takes on an ironic, mocking tone. I would argue that no one actually believes anymore that performance can be continually ‘enhanced’ whilst staying calm. There is a frenzy about the very demands for increased productivity, matching the physical frenzy perhaps of those striving to meet raised targets (as did Charlie Chaplin on the production line in “Modern Times”).
Stimulation is the problem. Take it away and people who are used to it will become frustrated. If the frustration is prolonged, they’ll become bored. These days work is just too continuously stimulating. ) 54 We live and especially work in a culture of stimulation. Media technologies play a part in this stimulation. For instance, with the speeding up of communications networks and the adoption of more communications media, subjects may find themselves literally ‘on call’ for more hours of the day.
Quantified, performance conceived in this way needs always to be enhanced, in line with fantasies of absolute efficiency. 56 For instance, blatant normalising techniques of surveillance have been reported within call centres and other computerised environments where software makes covert monitoring and data collection possible. Time spent away from one’s desk, or 55 Toohey, “The Big Yawn”. html, accessed 15/3/02. 56 35 time spent not typing can be monitored remotely, through technology, illustrating the role of time in this technical conception of ‘performance’.
Aesthetics and Hyper aesthetics. Rethinking the Senses in Contemporary Media Contexts by Melanie Swalwell