'The bottled factory workers' is a combination of the real-life sounds with images of the factory workers. Just like the factory where those rural migrants work and the place where they live, the small space of the glass bottle is stuffed with people and filled with noise. Factories not only produce goods but also ‘factory workers’. No matter who you are, where you come from, and why you are happy or upset, one’s personal stories and emotions are overwhelmed and flooded by the roar of machines on the assembly line and the scale of the factory itself.
01. The bottled factory workers
Top diameter: 9cm; Bottom diameter 14cm, Tall: 19.5cm
Everyday hundreds of rolls of steel plate were shipped to the factory. In many production sectors labor is still cheaper than a fully-automatic production line, Thus one worker usually ‘works’ with one machine to cut the original material into various shapes. Following the pre-set machine pace, a factory worker needs to repeat the action roughly 2000 times per day.
A factory worker told me the trick of ‘not missing one cut’ is to ‘forget yourself’ - “If you think things, your hands will slow down and you can’t follow the machine.” After continuous cropping, rolls of steel plate become piles of ‘rubbish’ when all the ‘useful’ parts are taken. Nobody pays attention to the rubbish in the factory - thousands of “I”s who are silently left after the noisy massive production.
02. Who I Am
Material: Leftover of thin wood slices & steel plate offcuts
60cm * 50cm
Everyday, a group of female factory workers glue strips of wood-pattern paper onto the surfaces of the furniture to make them look like real-wood. The way they do it is similar to piecing together a jigsaw. This task requires a lot of patience and care thus female workers are always preferred to male. There is a lot of leftover material in a production like this. And, leftover material will always be used as filling stuff. For factory workers the life of migration and factory days have become a very important pieces of the jigsaws of their lives.
Material: Leftover of fire-proof material; Leftover of wood-pattern paper; Leftover Pieces of wood
60cm * 50cm
04. The Human Being
The daily task of this factory worker on the picture is to operate the cutting machine to cut at least ten thousand small round steel pieces from steel plates. The strip of steel offcuts in the artwork was curved in the shape of the Chinese character ‘人’, which means the human being.