I watched Johannes Keidler's Fremdarbeit out of curiosity from the sound lecture. He basically outsourced his composing to a Chinese composer and an Indian programmer by very low price. The audience that shouted "you are exploiting " just makes the work better.
More than 10 years has passed since this work, is the condition still the same? To some extent, it still is.
when I arrived Melbourne and I start to buy things for my apartment, I observed and pretty much at least 80% of affordable goods are made in China. and when I start to check what is made in china in my own apartment I was surprised by the amount even I know the fact to some extent beforehand. Hence why I started my photography series. But I don't think it is as simple as the question of just exploitation anymore.
Dialing back to 2019, I stayed in a very fashionable and modern style bnb in Berlin. The spacious lobby has all this modern designed furniture, like colourful bean bags and irregular shaped table, with bright colored sofa. I sat there for a while and I start to have this weird feeling, I felt that all of the furniture are made in china, and I checked, I was right. I am basically resting in a western aesthetic by an imitation of western aesthetic. From one point of view, it is exploitation. But from the point of view of people sitting in a European style lobby in Europe, I wonder what the effect of the experience is.
The reason why I am still surprised when I searched my apartment, even I know a lot of things are made in china, is that normally the fact of "made in China" is not the best selling point to customers, and the aesthetic and functional language of some products conceals it almost. I don't think about China when I make my coffee using my very European style coffee tools that are all made in China, and the beans are from Africa ironically.
There are more Chinese owned company than 10 years ago I guess. For example Miniso is in Melbourne now, a Chinese company that has similar marketing to Daiso, might often mistaken as Japanese Brand, in fact the CEO hired a Japanese Designer as their branding chief. In China , Companies tends to hire European designer to up their brand image, I guess it is a sort of reverse outsourcing in some way.
So we live in this idea of one kind, that are built with a source and material of completely different kind, and the tendencies to conceal that is what is most intriguing to me. And what does this dissonance of a products affect us, the people that use all these inventions of self contradiction that are not aware of it, and why can I tell the furnitures are made in china in the Berlin hotel? One can simply say because of the quality with a discriminative undertone, but I think it is more complex than that. Through the products you can see the mind set of the people that made it, and the reason it was made that way, it reflects on to you. To me, the ghosts/spirits of the products always haunts you back, in it's own history.