Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

Sleep Dealer - Digital Labor


In the analysis of “Sleep Dealer” we experience commodities as an exchange of goods in a society where everyone has necessities. For example, nodes are capitalized and advertised as a commodity fetish in "Sleep Dealer" to promote a lifestyle that everyone can enjoy because it pays for them to use their nodes for labor. This is not to say that “social value” is being diminished, but commodities do carry money at a high value. In this case, money is being produced through humans by using them as robots to do work in a virtual reality. Another thing to keep in interest, is the idea that the mind and body have two different paths in this film. I’ll dive into this later.  Commodities and labor both have significance in Karl Marx’s piece as well as the film “Sleep Dealer,” but what makes labor useful is how products are being valued. The products that are of high value are nodes, mind, body, and humanity. The humanity of humans are being diminished at the sacrifice of their own lives. Whether they are trying to earn money for their families or survive on their own, it's at the cost of their life.


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