[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/17837725 w=500&h=283]
Laborers of Love/LOL, co developed by Jeff Crouse, Michael Schieban and new media artist and educator, Stephanie Rothenberg, is an exploration of how desire and pleasure are mediated, fragmented and abstracted through online social media tools such as Flickr and Youtube. Appearing as an adult oriented web site, Laborers of Love creates custom video fantasies "manufactured" by anonymous online workers. Once the customer establishes the fantasy they would like created, the job of producing the video mashup is given to an assembly line of online workers, outsourced to the global online job agency, Mechanical Turk (mturk.com) created by Amazon.com.The Mechanical Turk website posts jobs for work that can only be performed online. Anyone looking for work can come to the Mechanical Turk website so workers are not specific to the sex industry. Customers can view the "creation" process through a data visualization mapping workers global location (Little Rock, AR; Bangalore, India, etc) and Internet addresses of web sites where the content is obtained (pornhub.com, thegap.com, etc.) The final product is a video mashup compiled from images and video found online and put together using Laborers of Love's custom software. The videos are reminiscent of 1970's experimental cinema converged with more contemporary image manipulation tools. According to Rothenberg, "I create participatory installations and performances that examine and question how new digital technologies are drastically transforming the workplace [through] the virtualization of our labor. The artwork raises many issues around online sex work, sexual identity and the changing definition of sex worker as well as how fantasy is constructed and experienced behind the computer screen."