Noon — A biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture

Noon is a biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture

Moira Weigel

Labour

I HEARD LOVE IS BLIND

ERICA: If, as your book Labor of Love shows, dating as we know it grew out of shifting labour conditions in capitalism, do you think that platform/digital capitalism, also grew out of dating, insofar as it harnessed many of its key aspects, in particular self-marketing, building and maintaining profiles, and the importance of identifying niches?

MOIRA: In a word: Yes! Or, to put it a bit more precisely: like earlier stages of capitalism, surveillance capitalism has coevolved with dating. Apps and platforms have found ways to incorporate or enclose earlier dating practices (cruising : Grindr : frat party : Tinder?) as well as our romantic and sexual energies in general (flirting on Snapchat, sliding into the DMs). In my book, I try to show some of the ways that dating practices prepared Americans to allow all of our social relations to be commodified, in the hopes that this might optimize us and create the chance of intimacy. The ambiguity of dating, the kinds of privacy in public that it made available, and carefully managed self-disclosure that it involves –these are all features of our virtual lives. Contra legend, it's not just that The Facebook took off when Mark Zuckerberg added the "Relationship Status" feature.