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Yale Union acknowledges that it occupies the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Chinook, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and other Indigenous peoples.

David Borgonjon

The Matchmaker
28 Sept 2019, 6-8p

home school is excited to host a talk by David Borgonjon, “The Matchmaker,” on 28 Sept 2019, 6-8p at Yale Union!

When a buyer and a seller meet, something special happens. (Cue music.) It’s a match! The economist Alvin Roth won a 2012 Nobel for applying game theory to markets in which buyers and sellers choose each other, a subfield called matching theory or the matchmaking problem. Is it an accident that this field should pop into visibility at the same time that a silicon- and app-based model of exploitation has emerged which presumes to make life more convenient, to make connections easier, to remove all the friction and cut out all the middlemen? This is the work of social reproduction, by which a society and its members create themselves day by day and generation by generation, and it is changing as the platform economy finds new ways to monetize and to not pay for.

This talk introduces a set of concepts from mainstream economics and re-appropriates them to analyze the histories, interfaces and models of several major matchmaking apps. The goal is to take a look at how the gender and race politics embedded in the technocapitalist disintermediation form a kind-of-new kind of social reproduction. We’ll then discuss how our bodies affects experience matching apps and their side-effects over time: airbnb, uber, grindr, facebook, taskrabbit… How might we link the ways we’re made to feel, using the front-end of service, to the powers-that-be engineering its back-end?

David Borgonjon is a curator and writer. He has written for The New York Times, Rhizome, and the Journal for Chinese Contemporary Art, among others. He co-curated “In Search of Miss Ruthless” (Para Site, 2017), curated “Really, Socialism?!” (Momenta Art, 2015), “The Visible Hand” (CUE Art Foundation, 2017), and “In Search of Miss Ruthless” (Para Site, 2017) with Hera Chan. He teaches at Rhode Island School of Design and is completing a dissertation, “Intermediary Fictions: Media Histories of Chinese-Indonesian Capital, 1920-1950” at Columbia University. He is a part of, and likes to play go and watch video game tournament replays. Some writing is available at

Image: The Fire Emblem franchise owes its success to its marriage of traditional turn-based fighting games to dating sim mechanics. Pictured: Edelgard Hresvelg, Emperor of Adrestia, from Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

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