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Corporate Human


It’s exactly one minute to 2am. I’m trying to get some inspiration or, to put it bluntly, I’m gaining courage to finally write these entangled thoughts down. Regardless Nick Cave singing: “Well, sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all”[2], I’m not losing faith. These ideas have been maturing for very long. The time to bring them to the world has arrived. The purpose is far from showing them off, but rather, to clarify my thoughts and to invite the reader to discuss these fragments of insanity or indeed, stupidity.

For over a year I’ve been trying to begin the project that combines my passion – photography – with the way in which I have been earning a living for the last two decades – as a ‘businessman’-.

Following numerous trials and long nights of contemplating how to solve this puzzle, I have come to the conclusion that I should start developing the project ‘Corporate Human’.

In Corporate Human I am going to document life of big companies’ employees. Thus, in a way, part of my own life; a profession more common than ordinary – or at least I like to think this way-. The project seems relevant given there are extremely few photo documentaries of this topic. Why are there nearly no photographers shooting office workers’ daily life? (Or, Corporate Human as I like to call them.) On the one hand, we are sold this idea that having a job in a corporation resembles an ideal, that financial security is feasible to accomplish, that is more prestigious and, to an extent, brings happiness based on neoliberal values. Why are we not documenting Corporate Human than? Why are we not leaving a trace of their actions? Perhaps life of Corporate Human is not as relevant as we think? Or perhaps, because there is no will to register our actions and the consequences?

This project will also reflect on ontological– of being – and teleological – of purpose – aspects of Corporate Human. I’m increasingly intrigued by how we – people of business, marketing, sales – have been contributing to the world as it is now. This process obviously has plenty of positive sides, which are well-known as they have been widely communicated in an exaggerated and in fact, surreal fashion by the enterprises themselves. Yet this contribution has also revealed significant challenges: social and economic inequalities, the post-truth, savage capitalism and, as Byung-Chul Han rightly identifies, “the burnout society”[3]. Does Corporate Human have anything to do with the transformation of what is now understood by happiness, love, passion and the fact that all these new meanings only make sense when they can be monetised?

Today we talk about the fourth industrial revolution: Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, 3D printing, big data, to name a few; yet what is the new Corporate Human’s responsibility of giving back to our society? As individual persons, what is our impact? And how to face these new challenges as a part of a thoughtful, socially responsible collective: beyond the marketing narrative of the corporations? What are the questions that we need to ask ourselves as the privileged? What is our agency? What actions can and should we undertake, at least from the ethical and social perspective?

I start to write eventually in the tenth day of the Covid lockdown. In the middle of the chaos caused by panic shopping; my child is providing me with relief, at the same time bringing me to the knees; the couple’s counterpoint is on edge; and my consciousness would rather immolate when I opt to talk about business instead of hope.

I have no idea where Corporate Human would lead me, but I would carry on slowly and organically, taking the responsibility to say only what needs to be said, and with my ultimate purpose to contribute with a little bit of literature (written and visual) to the world dominated by the corporate class.

[1] Text translated from spanish, reviewed and copy-edited by Gosia Polanska (Mojek)

[2] ‘Waiting for you’, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 2019 [3] Byung-Chul Han, 2015, The Burnout Society