What do people do all day?
The object before you is a children’s book from 2040 titled What do people do all day?, written by Nena Fazzari. The book was loosely based on an 80-year-old classic of the same name by prolific 1960s author Richard Scarry. The modern version includes a vignette titled “Everyone is a helper”, while the 1960 version is “Everyone is a worker”. This is a clear example of how a citizen’s contribution to society was reframed in the early 2020s. Another vignette was “Building a road” in 1960 and “Removing a road” in 2040. This clearly shows how society’s infrastructure needs changed due to transport technology, including the introduction of Communal Autonomous Vehicles. The last vignette on display details how a town’s renewable energy system worked, contrasting with the 1960 explanation of how coal powered the town. By 2030 coal was outlawed in Australia, thanks to actions organised in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both editions of What do people do all day? have travelled extensively in museum exhibitions, as they are seen to be a perfect example of how societal worldviews can change.
Rocco Fazzari is an independent multimedia artist and video producer (he has also just created fabric). His illustrations have been seen in the Fairfax press for the past 20 years, as well as in Rolling Stone magazine and American Sports Illustrated among many others.