Shadow Moves: a Performance of Cognitive Labour
Nonroutine cognitive work represents the biggest job group in Western countries, yet our frame of reference remains stuck in a manual era. Labour is defined by its easily discernible functional handlings, however mental processes are not per se linked to these handlings. In 1947, dance theorist Rudolf Laban published a Fordistic study on the human effort in labour. Here he introduced the term “shadow moves”, which he defined as the non-functional physical release of mental strain. To cognitive labour, however, they can signify the visible trace most true to its real effort. By isolating shadow moves through performance, Wannes Vrijs renders the cognitive visible.