The project Made in Québec involves exporting myself to China to work for workers, framing myself as a Canadian commodity at work in a Chinese context. This gesture can be understood as a giving back of some of the time that Chinese products have saved Westerners. Through my placement in different work environments, these photographs focus on the context I find myself in. Although the images present an imagined relationship between these environments and myself, the reflection is on our real relationship to the commodities we produce and consume.
My previous photographic work has involved placing myself in specific real-life contexts and documenting the interaction that takes place. These projects have involved traveling to France, Austria and Newfoundland where the social dynamics of each location have informed the images that I have produced. My art practice, focused almost exclusively on self-portraiture, underlines the importance of context and understanding one’s relationship to that context. By placing myself in various situations in the world and documenting my reactions to those situations, I am defining the different personas we construct socially. From this perspective, the choice of location for creating each project is a central component of the content of the artwork. Considering that China is the largest exporter of goods in the world (*) and that it is emerging as a superpower built on the labor of its workforce, my project engages directly with the power dynamics at play in a global context. The photographs provide a human dimension to our abstract relationship to production and consumption.
This project was made possible with the generous support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation. I would like to thanks for the following: my wonderful family, Jean-Michel, Thomas and Margot, CEAC, Ineke Gudmundsson, May Lee, Li Li, Youqi Ouyang, Shichen Zhang, Yasi Glass Factory, the Library of the Art College at Xiamen University, Xiamen Kangsi Art Limited, Mr. Zhang Yougui, Dingyi Art Scupture Factory, Mr. Zhang Mingwei, Di Jin Sculpture, Xinyinghang Concrete Firm, Fuzhen Restaurant, Xilai Biological Technical Company, An'hui Restaurant, Jia Yu Preschool Group, Lu Wenhai, Huang Aixiu, Lianningse Jidi Art School, Mr. Yang Quitai, Mr. Guo Qiuqi, Qixing Industry and Trade Limited, Xiamen, Mrs. Ye, Yongsheng Cloth, Mr. Zheng Feiqun, Shanyuan Printing, Manyi Laundry, Xiamen Bindong Primary School, Mr. Guo Guoming, Yunyao Porcelain Factory Dehua.
(*) “Country Comparison: Exports”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Online. Accessed May 21, 2015.