Best Practices in Banana Time

The term “banana time” was first coined in a controversial study conducted by sociologist D.F. Roy in 1959 in which factory workers created games out of their repetitive work tasks in order to make their time more meaningful. If we fast-forward into the contemporary workplace of Web 2.0, this notion of work under the guise of play has now become the standard. The digital tools of our work, the iPhones, the home and office computer/entertainment center, are also the toys of our play. Consumers are the new producers as many make their livelihood through social networking media such as YouTube and facebook and virtual environments such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, further conflating these work/play delineations.

Best Practices in Banana Time is a mixed reality talk show that takes place simultaneously in the virtual environment of Second Life and in a physical theater. Merging Charlie Rose with Oprah, Best Practices in Banana Time sets out to identify what it means to work and live between the worlds of the physical and the virtual. Hosted by Rothenberg’s virtual doppleganger, Doctor Rodenberger, the show features Second Life residents as virtual guests who work the same job in both their real life and in their Second Life: doctors, musicians, architects, wedding, planners, escorts, activists and other diverse occupations. A webcam set up next to the stage enables audience members to participate in a Q&A with the virtual guests. Designed as a virtual TV studio, a Second Life audience is also present and responds to the show via text chat. The production team for the performance includes: Alice Alexandrescu, Timothy Scaffidi, and Marc Tomko.

Performances include:
MASS MoCA (in conjunction with the exhibition “The Workers”), North Adams, MA
Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City
2010 01SJ Biennial at the Empire Drive-In, San Jose, CA
Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY
Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY

Job Recruitment poster for virtual medical practitioners.

Citywide job poster campaign.

Live interaction with virtual guests in Second Life on the talk show.