Tag Archives: cx

As an Elf, I’m disgusted my greedy colleagues are threatening to strike

Hello, I am an elf. I am writing to complain about the Elf Protest workshop, which is helping some elves to protest for changes to their working conditions. I will not be joining the elf protest on Saturday (14th December 2013) because I don’t think elves should be taking industrial action at this important elf time of year. Myself, I work as a Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) Yule Elf. My work is very traditional and well respected. I follow children in order to steal their candles so I can eat them.

A new mood of militancy is sweeping through the elf communities —  an unjustified aggression that threatens to result in the first international strike by elves since 1451. The trigger is that the contagion of casual worker discontent has now spread to elves. If elves were to strike it would be for purely self serving reasons, betraying those who trust and rely on them.

Over recent months, some elves have remorselessly cranked up the pressure on the issue of working hours, indulging in increasingly hysterical propaganda and whipping up a sense of resentment against Christmas. Indeed, in recent days, I have received up to four emails a day, urging me to reply to an elf worker survey. But I have refused to participate, because I think the indignation over working conditions, so eagerly fomented by some elves, is grossly misplaced. If elves do take industrial action on this issue, it will be one of the most disgraceful and self-serving disputes in elf history.

Even the very threat of a elf strike is a grotesque act of irresponsibility, where crude blackmail masquerades as concern for elf welfare. And this attempt to protect some elve’s narrow vested interests will do nothing to improve elf standing with the British public.

Indeed, the traditional spirit of goodwill has already been badly dented in recent years by increasing avarice in parts of the profession, such as the outrageous Heinzelmännchen (Kitchen Elf) walkout in 2004 by which family kitchen elves have negotiated substantially more for doing significantly less. Given how well-rewarded most elves are, particularly those in Christmas workshops, a dispute over working conditions would sound the death knell for the profession’s reputation.

The elf world is not meant to be like this. Working as an elf is not a mere occupation. It is a vocation —  one built on compassion for the most vulnerable in society. That is certainly the way elves used to be viewed in this country. The elf was seen as reliable, selfless, trustworthy — a pillar of the local community.

elf protesting
Tragic: There is precious little sign of responsibility from the elves now. They have become reckless, bent on self-service rather than self-sacrifice.

There has been no dramatic increase in productivity or flexibility that might justify this colossal increase in worker demands. The opposite is true. Where elves once had to provide 24-hour work and conduct regular home visits, now they essentially work office hours. Out-of-hours and weekend work is largely conducted with overtime only. For all the incessant bleating about elf conditions, too many elves do not have a clue about the real world. Unlike those who have to earn their living in the competitive marketplace, elves enjoy an effective monopoly, where their work is guaranteed.

I would like to warn parents and children against this weekend’s ‘family fun day’ workshop about helping elves think about what the future of work should be like. Designing posters for elves is making light of a serious issue.

“There is nothing child-friendly about industrial action.” – Michael Gove


everything but the first and last paragraph is taken directly from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2089135/Doctors-strike-As-GP-Im-disgusted-greedy-strike-threat-pensions.html  with the context changed for elves rather than doctors.

14 December / 12-4pm / FACT Connects Space / FREE just drop in!

Pop into our temporary Co-working Space and help the festive elves protest.

We all know elves help make toys, but do you know what working as an elf is like? There are many different types of elf, who do different hidden jobs. Some of the holiday elves want to change the work they have to do every year, and they need your help to make banners and protest signs.

Stop by and help the elves decide what their work should be like, and help them make elf-sized banners and signs to let everyone else know.

This workshop offers a chance to:

  •     Talk about what sort of work festive elves do
  •     Help the elves to imagine what their future work should be like
  •     Plan and decorate an elf-sized banner or sign
  •     Take away a cardboard elf to show off your elf protest sign, or leave it in the workshop with the other protesting elves

Ben Dalton is a researcher and artist from the RCA helping to run the Co-working space at FACT. He’s interested in the future of work, micro-unions, and how to create voices for hidden work and connections between workers who are far away.

teaching rocks to sing

I’ve been toying for a few years in sketches with what a playlist should look like. It used to be an album cover, a square design that was retried from a shelf and taken to a player, or a cassette, decorated and owned with layers of patina. I remember a friend who had connected a barcode scanner up to their stereo so that they could start a cd playing (from the copy on their digital library) by scanning the barcode – giving the cd cases continued significance and making use of existing social gestures for selecting music to play.

Now that playlists are digital, a web link or usb flash disk seems like an insubstantial and transitory alternative. I would like to load playlists of music in to objects that are meaningful. These can then be given as gifts, kept on show on the coffee table or mantelpiece, or stored like a cabinet of curiosities. Objects could be created for the task, embedded with rfid tags like skylanders, but for me it would be better if I could teach *any* object my playlist.


Sensing any handheld-sized object, whether it is a seashell, a toy car, a broken cup, a rock, a personal 3D printed shape, and so on, would require a whole palate of sensors to have a chance of being robust. Place the object in a box or on a pedestal and we could imagine using computer vision for contour, pattern and colour sensing, and maybe weighing the object too.

I chatted about this idea with participants at the Making Digital Physical CX workshop. One suggestion that grew from our discussion was the idea of teaching objects a playlist should happen in real-time. This was how cassette mixtapes used to be constructed and it meant they retained significance through the time and effort invested in making them.

Another dimension to using arbitrary objects is that more than one person might ‘overwrite’ mass produced objects. All starbucks cups look the same, so the mix you taught your cup yesterday might be Beiber by now. This creates an impetus to seek out unique objects, or at least to modify them to make them unique. It also suggests a gesture of 3D printing for sharing a mix, or teaching your secret club decoder ring a secret club theme tune.