Division, horror in the workplace – Elaine Jones

Apr 22 2022 05:09

We have all seen many dystopian horror movies set in the workplace so far. Therefore it is surprising that to cut (break up) By Ben Stiller I’m still finding a way to hit the nerve.

The new nine-episode series, produced by Apple+ and directed largely by Stiller, focuses on LUMON Industries, a company with controversial software designed to “surgically split” employee work memories from personal memories, making them partially amnesic most of the time. As the newly-rookie head of the department’s Scouting divisions (Adam Scott) explains to apprentice R. Healy (Lower Brett), participation in the program is entirely voluntary, and therefore “every time you find yourself here, it means that you have chosen to return.”

It is this sentence that hits the nerve most exposed, ruthlessly suggesting the idea that we have chosen a job and that we continue to choose it. It’s one of the shameful propaganda phrases that oppresses our lives: the idea that in our crazy rush to make a living, we can always make much better “choices.” If we don’t like the job, why don’t we find another? If it appears that the course of our professional lives is catastrophic, so why not change our jobs only? It’s like we live in a giant playground, where you can always try the swing when you get tired of skating or the gym.

face of work
The horror in disassembled It embodies a good feeling that the familiar path wire fate sealed. We discover that Mark Scout, 40-year-old made a decision not to return the work of the “plan of division” after the death of his wife, in order to be free from the overwhelming anniversary of her death – at least from time to time – while working in industries LUMON. We see him crying in his car in the car park before entering the huge office building. When you stepped up to the elevator, we see her face turns from the depression of her personal life painful to “face action” brighter and more attentive. All this while his brain is cleared of what happened during the hours spent away from there.

We know the reason for this shift, which but also indicates the terrible feeling of when we feel compelled to take on the cheerful and available “expression of work” to face the day, no matter what may happen in our personal lives.

The whole business case is full of corporate horrors, who also knows who has spent at least once in those cold corridors that open to terribly similar offices and conference rooms. The sign appears to be walking miles through a monotonous white maze to reach his office, where a group of four odd-person booths are secluded in huge, space windows. There is a team of Overall data revision department He cleans up obscure data: he watches an endless string of numbers appear on their computer screens until they spot the “sounding scary” numbers, then throws them in the trash. It takes some practice to get to know the numbers “frightening.”

This team includes the know-it-all Dylan (Zach Cherry) who buys all the productivity bonuses – useless stuff like the company’s signature blue finger traps. The most desirable reward is the “waffle breakfast,” perhaps because these workers don’t remember breakfast, because it’s a meal they eat before they go to work. John Turturro as Irving, the older member of the team, is nervous and demanding to follow the rules but is also particularly weak at work. Twice he makes the mistake of falling asleep at his station. The threatening punishment is to go to the “relaxation room”. We still don’t know what happens in the “relaxation room”. But we understand that it must be a very bad thing.

The supervisor has a shallow grin – he’s so evil, he’s so obviously a spy that anyone who ever has a job will see him as a familiar character

The rookie is called Helly. The series begins with an overhead shot of this character lying unconscious on a conference table, having just undergone brain surgery that separated his working life from his personal life. This “routing” proceeds from repeated and unsuccessful attempts to escape from the building: Hailey’s transition to the “split floor” does not go smoothly, even after they show her a video in which she herself testifies that she did so freely. the choice. The start position is uncooperative in working with Mark, in general very satisfied.

Replace Betty Healy replaced (Jul Vazquez), “a friend of work” to Mark, who has never come to the office. The director explains the frightening Harmonie Koppel (Patricia Arquette), her hair long silver to highlight the blue ice to her eyes, that my house “is no longer part of the company”, and for this reason will mark his position as foreman. . But there is no explanation for the sudden absence of Petey and. Upset unusually weak mark, which is when approaching him home in his own life, even if he has no memory of him. Betty says, “you’re my friend,” adding disturbingly, “I was the best friend you.”

Obviously, of course, Mark will “take the red pill” and follow Betty to find out the truth about what’s going on at Lumon Industries. Betty literally handed him a red envelope that read “Lumon blue,” with an address inside where he could find information about the company.

The one who’s always on guard is “split plan” supervisor Seth Melchic (Trammel Tillman), an executive with a shallow grin: very sinister, clearly a spy, very eager to get everyone involved in the mandatory drills. construction teamAlmost any viewer who has ever been to a job would immediately see him as a familiar face. Not surprisingly, the creator of the series disassembledscreenwriter Dan Erickson, drew inspiration from a series of desk jobs he did when he moved to Los Angeles and said, ‘I found myself wishing I could jump in the day. I wanted to give up on myself for the next eight hours. Then I thought, ‘This is it’ The wrong thing I want. We should want more time for ourselves, not less.’


Reframing the idea of ​​wanting to separate the self from the long moments in our lives, Erikson imagined the science fiction representation of workplace hell we see in disassembled. The fact that we find these assertions so familiar also naturally stems from the recent wave of “major resignations” caused by pandemic influenza: 4,500,000 people voluntarily left their jobs, an “all-time high,” according to the Bureau of American Labor and Force Statistics.

What is remarkable about disassembled It’s the desire to see the characters freed from their corporate trap before he literally kills them. There is a particularly spooky effect in the first episode, when Hailey continues to walk toward the exit door thinking she’s in the corridor leading outside, only to find that she’s entering again through the door to go back to the same room she has. just left. This nightmarish forced return — to get back in the door when you thought you’d just walked out — is a fascinating and horrifying portrait of contemporary action inferno.

Because “terror in the workplace” is the real driving force of the series, there is great tension in the presence of a character like Mark as a hero of the novel, a man with no memory willingly and can not afford his personal life. He is trying to be lost in his job, and struggling do not even realize how brutal his work environment.

There have always been a lot of signs in the workplace. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that the signs of this world are also reaching the point where they can’t stand it anymore?

(translated by Federico Verone)

This article appeared in Jacobin’s American Quarterly.


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