Worker - Athlete - Hacker

As I have mentioned earlier, the business model for the professional sports world is comprised of two components, or double-jointed: first, what we might call a capitalist component, in which the athletic worker class sells its labour to the capitalist owner who in turn provides the means of production — ie. the sports stadium or arena of competition — for uncertain game outcomes to be manufactured.

Simultaneously, to borrow Wark's framework, we have a vectoral class interest that seeks to capture the vectors of representation — ie. images, information, identities — that are produced in and around the uncertainty-of-outcome manufacturing process. This isn't necessarily straight "work" on behalf of the athlete, however, since the creative quality of the "hack" can impart sign value that raises the total value of the representation beyond pure commodity. While a Dwyane Wade dunk and a Tim Duncan layup are both worth two points in the uncertainty-of-outcome sense, the former's hack has far more value as it relates to television highlights, sports videogames, merchandise sales, etc.

Thus, we can say that the professional athlete of today becomes a hybrid of manufacturing and revealing, to use Heidegger's terms, which allows for the production of both the repetitive and creatively unique outputs. At the same time, the athlete has also become a technologized body, a cyborgian body, with the technologies enabling both the manufacturing and revealing tendencies.

Put another way, we can say that the vectoral class interest of the post-industrial age tends to outsource body movement, though this isn't the same outsourcing of body movement that the capitalist performs in exploiting the labour of the working class for commodity production. Rather, the worker-athlete-hacker exists in the paradox of sportocratic commodity production, wherein the value of the commodity lies in its creative uniqueness — in which case, however, it ceases to be a commodity. It is the legacy of commodity production that is the system stress in an economy that desires the uniqueness of the hack.


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