What challenges does the digital future impose on our democracy, freedom, and humanity? A new production performed by the Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble explores the intersection of technology and capitalism—based on Shoshana Zuboff’s acclaimed book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.
Act of Repair is a Scottish production that explores the ways Big Tech uses our data—often without our knowledge or consent. It all began as a conversation about Brexit. The Brexit campaign was rumoured to have used online technology to manipulate the public’s opinion, an allegation which piqued the interest of the Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble. They launched an investigation into the often insidious influence of online forces, eventually landing on Shoshana Zuboff’s groundbreaking work The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
Zuboff coined the term Surveillance Capitalism to describe the unchecked power of corporations that strive to predict and control human behavior for profit. Her book explores the very real threat this new phenomenon poses to the twenty-first century, similar to the challenges industrial capitalism posed on humanity a century before. Rather than an Orwellian Big Brother State looking over our shoulder, she argues, we now run the risk of a “ubiquitous digital architecture […] operating in the interests of surveillance capital.”
The book was a big inspiration for the ensemble, and the play as a whole: “In the past, capitalism has involved us engaging as customers. But in this new data age, we are no longer the customers—we are the raw materials.” Zuboff’s vivid, moving analysis is brought to life in an Act of Repair, which is performed by an ensemble cast of 20 radical artists, and directed by Brian Ferguson. “Nearly everyone has signed up to apps, social media and search engines. They ask us to agree to the terms and conditions—a wee box that most of us tick without even reading the T & Cs. We all know that the companies are using our data—but so what? Act of Repair explores the so what.”
To book Shoshana Zuboff for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today.