Sandra Crisp, London - UK

About the images

I scanned the visual of women working in the Qiaotou zipper factory about a year ago - it was sitting unused on my computer until now, my paper copy of the actual newspaper article is now lost but the story still exists on the Internet (see below).

I was captivated by the human side of the story and meticulous nature of the women's work , the monotonous task emphasised by the exaggerated perspective, detail and tense composition. It exists as a powerful reality check as many Western goods taken for granted on the high street are now produced in China, - this 'behind the scenes' glimpse into this world brings this notion alive. By appropriating, recycling and manipulating the image I am intending to make the women visible all over again one year on; as rapid growth of production is continuing at an accelerated rate in China #1, #2 & #3 collage continue the idea of the global market by incorporating a screenshot of the export trade website; Displaying an bewildering array of consumables from computer parts to everyday items such as clothing, accessories etc.. Other images appropriated from the net, drawn and reworked are; Image of a woman (wearing hygiene mask) working in Hitachi factory, Shanghai waterfront, Hong Kong old and new architecture, electronic product barcode and map graphic of economic growth in China provinces.

Zipper capital of the world
Guardian Unlimited, Friday June 3 2005

The next time you undo your flies, cast your mind eastwards towards Qiaotou. For no matter whether you are wearing bell-bottomed jeans, a pencil skirt or tracksuit bottoms, the chances are that the button or zip originated in this dusty, dirty town in Zhejiang province. Located slap-bang in the middle of nowhere, Qiaotou is the sort of place you might drive through without noticing. It is too small to be marked on most western maps of China and so little-known that few outside the local county have heard its name. But in just 25 years this humble community has destroyed most of its international rivals to become the undisputed global capital of buttons and zips.........

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last changed: 26. 03. 2021