Olaf Bach, Mariko Nagai

Panel II: Labor and Representation of the Self

The economist Olaf Bach talks about “Management of Work and Management as Work – Different Aspects of Self-Representation,” stating that management has become omnipresent in all work processes. It functions simultaneously as something alienating from and re-integrating to the managing subject’s production. In what ways does the representation of this managerial-self change if most work today happens in stratified organizations that entail hierarchal authority positions? How does self-representation change if the manager cannot identify with the result of the work process? In order to tackle this dilemma, some managers have attempted to craft a system using terminology that frames management as artistic practice, which Bach identified as forced and potentially problematic.

The writer Mariku Nagai focuses on the representation of self from a writer’s perspective. Her current work is a novel whose protagonist is a neglected figure from the opera Madame Butterfly, Kate Pinkerton. Drawing from her personal experience of being an Asian in America, Nagai parallels Madam Butterfly’s vita with her own, but she faces the challenge of convincingly creating a complex protagonist from the obscure character of the colonialist’s wife, challenging the author to take on the role of “the other self” through her writing process.

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