Held in the board room of the tbd Agency, September 7th from 5:00-9:00pm as part of a First Friday Artwalk event.

"How to equitably pay those who do not produce physical goods, or measurable products?  Teachers, for example, are critical professionals, and yet they do not produce a quantifiable, measurable product to base their wages on.  But neither do physicians, professional athletes, CEOs, or prostitutes…" was posted outside the door.

Once visitors entered the room I invited them to preview the space, which included wall text on economic theory placed around a beautiful panoramic artwork showing the wooden decking over an aqueduct making what appears to be a loop through the forest.  There was also a short video playing which presented various job descriptions of workers who do not produce physical objects.   Everyone was then invited to contribute to the creation of a concept map of the various factors that influence the wages paid for work that is not production related.  A sample concept map, as well as a primer on concept mapping, were provided.  Signs on the walls stated that visitors were to discuss their ideas before contributing to the concept map, plus cookies and tea were available to make for a feel that visitors were welcome to stay and chat for as long as they wanted. 

As with much of my work, this project was designed to include an element of conversation as I have found that conversation can be a very effective way to actively engage participants in new ways of thinking of a topic; but as each person will tend to connect the topic to areas of personal interest or experience it allows for a relatively open work that can develop many different interpretations or paths of thinking, even within a relatively prescribed environment.

Below are notes and photos from the evening.

-"It makes me think of Charles Bukowski and his writing on labor an economy" said a young man.

-"Scientists have found that insects and animals only work about 4 hours a day" was another comment.

- "Government doesn't actually want an educated pubic.  The educated then want change...are trouble makers.  I'm skeptical of the government actually looking out for everyone's best interests.  Democracy doesn't really work.  A benevolent dictator that looks at everything with a big picture view might be better in looking out for the interests of the masses"  from a middle-aged gentleman.

- " 'If you like what you do then it isn't work' has often been said, but that isn't right either" was mentioned in passing.

- A young woman shared that "Back in the 90s big business threw lots of money at the top IT folks to get them to come work in-house, and that worked for a while...but then they found that, at least for the more creative minded, that they didn't care so much about the money anymore.  It was about the right work environment.  It's not all about the money.  Maybe the nurse is happy with less pay because she or he is helping people." 

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