The appeal of SWIM—irreverent, and not without a dash of humor—is its immediate accessibility, despite being grounded in deep research and economic theory. Citarella talks exuberantly about the books that have inspired him, including, most recently, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (2015). He spends his time watching YouTube videos of teenagers boldly debating the precepts of anarcho-capitalist societies; browsing survivalist websites; and hunting for impermanent jobs, of course, to make ends meet. “These texts about the precarity of work—I was not just reading it, but living it,” he says.
In the end, Citarella’s image of computer-bound hustle in an undersized apartment is immediately resonant to any struggling freelancer: a bleak cautionary tale of a future in which we beg for random gigs while ocean levels slowly rise. “When the election happened,” he says, “every artist on earth took a moment to think, how do I respond to this?”
Citarella’s own response is pointed, whip-smart, and sickly entertaining; a monstrous vision that feels all too plausible.