It is not expected that as consumers we be concerned with the actual production of the items we purchase. In fact it makes us more effective consumers to maintain a perspective that is abstracted from that process. When we buy the basic goods we use on a daily basis, there is an assumption they are clean, untainted, absent of a history. Made in China asks us to reconsider that.
For this project, items made and packaged in China were purchased in US department stores and bodegas. They remained in their original packaging until they were dusted for fingerprints and then photographed under black lights. This process allowed for the evidence of another's touch, quite possibly the person involved in constructing and packaging the item, to be revealed.
Made in China highlights the human factor and invisible history in each object's production, and forces us to reconsider the relationship those who are leaving their fingerprints on each item may have with it.
Made in China is not intended to comment on the scale or absurdity of our consumptive practices, but to remind us that we are only one factor in that equation.
For more on this project, watch Michael Itkoff, Editor of Daylight Magazine, talk about it here.
Also, a review of the July 2011 exhibit in The Architect's News:
Made in China with a human touch