Few things set the rhythm and the course of our lives like work. Few things are equally charged with cultural meaning: work as the threshold of adulthood, work as the path to emancipation, work as the source of purpose and self-realization.

Despite the disproportionate amount of time in our lives we spend working, or preparing to work, or looking for work, there is increasingly limited space to reflect on work itself, on labor, on what it means, how it happens and how it should be.

The sweat of workers is taken as a given. If you as a worker are unsatisfied, the solution you are offered is to innovate, to grind, to hustle. That is, to sweat more, rather than to organize, protest or demand better. Work cannot be otherwise, it seems, all you can do is work harder.

Just as global workers’ struggles get quieter and quieter, it becomes more evident that the sweat of workers, generated under increasingly precarious conditions, is being misappropriated to power global systems of racism, patriarchy, environmental degradation and obscene wealth inequality.

This year’s edition of K2.0 Carnival will be dedicated to the sweat of workers, our sweat. Through a series of talks, masterclasses, exhibits and performances we will explore the ways the product of our labor has been exploited, and how we can claim it back. In the long tradition of Carnival, we will not only live out alternatives, and subvert the norms, we will also have fun. Come get sweaty with us.

Feature Image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.

1.Ray Kroc was an American businessman who is credited with the global expansion of McDonald’s.
2.Excerpt from an interview with workers conducted by sculptor Doruntina Kastrati, for her exhibition “Public Heroes and Secrets.”
3.The number of times the word “worker” appears in the Constitution of Kosovo.