Stark Choices

Short Film

Commissioned by Superflux


Doomsday headlines about the impending robot coup to rob you of your job saturate the media. Terrifying declarations fly from every direction: automation equals job losses. No job will be safe from the horrors of automation. This unhelpful fear mongering simplifies a deeply complex issue, and spectacularly dodges thorny questions about power, wealth, precarity and inequality. The question “What is the Future of Work?” is important. But hastily cobbled together answers to an intricate issue are often lacking in nuance and deliberation.

Superflux is an Anglo-Indian design studio that creates worlds, stories, and tools to provoke engagement with the precarity of our rapidly changing world. Working with the Varkey Foundation, Superflux created a highly experiential simulation, to engage a diverse group of educators, decision makers and students in conversations about the future of education. A two-part simulation, participants were firstly made ‘redundant’ by a team of actors and coerced into menial and insecure work-share programs. Emerging from a caged walkway (to separate the simulated ‘workers’ from the futuristic 1 per cent), participants were invited to watch a short film that posed a series of questions about alternative social outcomes to the increasing automation of labour.






Helen Robinett Oxley