Live to Die, 2020

Live to Die
Installations at Black Cube “Fulfillment Center” and “NCECA”


Red doormats that say "welcome" in Chinese and English are found in front of almost every Chinese restaurant and business all over the world.  These mats are markers for crossing thresholds, the objects below our feet that welcome or receive us as we work, spend, desire and consume.  This red is symbolic of good luck and fortune in Chinese culture but synonymous with anger and passion. The pallet rack with the stacks of mats embossed with the phrase "Live to Die", a morality statement found at the bottom of alphabet samplers from the 1800's.  This phrase stitched onto linen by the hands of young girls who probably did not fully understand the darkness and futility of these words.   


Disrupting the perfect stacks of doormats are golden figurines of a young Asian girl, barefoot, wearing a rice pickers hat, and carrying a heavy load on a shoulder yoke.  They become buried under the weight of the mats, hidden and obscured but we know they are there.  Her labor and presence invisible to the objects we so easily order and buy but so much a part of this cycle of consumption and fulfillment. 


I often think of the label “Made in China” and how its associated with objects that are cheaply and poorly made.   What makes their labor and bodies any less than that of American labor? We need to acknowledge and confront are the capitalist systems in place that have created an American ruling class that for decades have put profits over people and continually exploit global inequality.  



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