Paco Contreras

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Made in China


Alter Arte Festival


Adhesive vinyl


Murcia, 2007


Photo from monument dedicated to the Illustrious Sons of Murcia City

Made in China was an intervention project in an urban area. It consisted of sticking a label saying Made in China in the pedestal base of a statue dedicated to Murcia's most illustrious sons, placed in the gardens of Santa Isabel square, Murcia.


The purpose of this project is to play with the idea of everyday objects around us through a visual poetry. Most of them are made in China and the statue would not be an exception; even the above-mentioned illustrious sons could have been made in China.


Image of letters made of vinyl which they are part of the art piece

Beyond a reference to Joan Brossa's object-poems, the underlying concept behind this work is that, in our current globalised world, production facilities are mostly based in underdeveloped or developing countries. These countries have permissive laws and uncontrolled working conditions and, moreover, they have not trade unions to protect workers' rights due to extortionist employers or to the lack of laws regulating this issue.


In countries such as China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Ghana, Morocco and Mexico there is an excess of labour supply in rural areas, and that is why production costs are much lower. These people realize that the profits generated by their work swell the bank accounts of a few local businessmen, and especially of multinational companies, that started offering a wage to feed their families as they could not subsist on the crops they

Overall view from the back of the intervened monument

grow.


The welfare illusion shatters entire generations. They run themselves into the ground, working 16 hours a day to cover the basic needs of their families. How do we create a better and fairer society, when people are not able to get a better life for their children? Where are their illustrious sons? Where are ours?


In that last sense, Made in China deals with the idea of Nationality, with those who now make up our country, with the large wave of migrants who join us since they were born here or they become naturalized citizens. They hope to build a better future for their children, a better future for all of us, and yet despite it all, they give their all for our country.


Only a few of them obtain the Spanish naturalization with all the honours and these talented people, brought from other countries, become a source of national pride.


In the meantime, there are others who feel obliged to migrate and carry out their activity out of their country due to the lack of resources and the absence of institutional support, and many of them are artists. When these cultural migrants happen to have achieved fame, they use to import themselves with the epigraph Made in although the last part is not true.


An image of the moment of the intervention making General view of the Santa Isabel Square in Murcia Another image of the moment of the intervention

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