Disrupting Hustle Culture
“Disrupting Hustle Culture” is a candid exploration into the topic of hustle culture from my perspective of producing an animated short film “Pursuit”. Tangible change can be made in the world to mend our relationship with time when we start to devalue the dominant western work ethos that prioritises speed and efficiency and instead prioritise more sustainable perspectives towards productivity.
Hustle culture is characterised as an almost masochistic work-ethic way of life where productivity becomes toxic and self care gets lost in the noise. I explored the concept of slow living in relation to hustle culture, as it contrastingly promotes creating opportunities in life to disconnect and slow down rather than productivity at any mental or physical cost.
Although principles of slow living can be an act of resistance against the fast paced attitude or lifestyle that society pushes many of us to have, it can also be considered as just another one of those ‘healthy living’ or ‘self help’ inspired practices that influencers and even entrepreneurs try to sell you. So visually communicating some negative aspects in my work were important to ensure that the message does not by mistake come across as a feel good quick fix.
“What does it mean to be productive?”
Society’s definition of what it means to be productive, referring to the socially accepted notion that you need to hustle in order to succeed, points to a serious need for change. I explored animation as a practice of slow living, as the inherently slow nature of traditional hand drawn methods aligns with principles of slow living that aim to challenge, disrupt and resist the western work ethos that faster is better.
“Faster does not always mean sustainable.”
Rather than having a finished film as the final result of the project, Disrupting Hustle Culture, as initially planned, I decided to switch gears and aim for an unfinished film. This doesn’t mean that the film will remain unfinished, it just means that I respect myself and the time that animated short films take to produce as an independent creator, and Pursuit will continue to be a work in progress. This radical decision to halt the hustle, to avoid grinding to finish a film in an unrealistic time frame, was prompted by the fact that I was experiencing the very issue that this project addresses. Highlighting the process can often be just as, if not more impactful as the final result could be.
“The good thing about struggles
is that I am able to reflect and turn them to use.”
Pursuit explores themes of hustle culture and toxic productivity and leaves this nuanced question of what it means to be productive, open for interpretation.
Pitch for Pursuit:
A person lives in a house that is always moving,
they are constantly searching for something.
This endless pursuit takes its toll on the inhabitant.
Tension builds, turning the pursuit sour and their
sense of productivity into a toxic work ethos,
until an unexpected call eases the stress.
There lies much more to be explored, researched and practised in terms of developing a sustainable and healthy relationship with productivity. My process let to many new questions about if hustle culture is something that is just evolving with us, as if hustling is the only way to succeed, an unchangeable societal condition. Or if hustle culture is something we have the power to change in society on an individual level. Whether or not I succeeded in developing a more sustainable, slow living inspired work ethic or method, the process of this project allowed me to explore and work through the complexities of hustle culture in my own practice and be able to hold constructive and collaborative conversations with others on the topic. Even if the issue of hustle culture runs deeper than the individual, we can still learn to be honest with ourselves, with how much time and energy we are able to invest into the thing’s we are doing because individual change is still Change.
Thanks for stopping by!