Own photo of installation at CFCCA
All That Glitters Must be Gold is an exhibition at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (formerly Chinese Arts Centre) featuring an installation by Chen Hangfeng consisting of: multi-screen videos, a small archive including interviews with ‘Santa Claus’ and information about the video’s location as well as lots of shiny baubles! On the surface the exhibition appears to be a celebration of Christmas but the videos reveal workers from a small village near Mei Creek, China, hand producing Christmas decorations inside their homes and small workshops. The archival information suggests that up to 80% of the world’s exported Xmas decorations are made by these villagers under poor working conditions using toxic chemicals in a place where Christmas means nothing (or didn’t until recently). Amongst the video footage of the cutting, sticking, stacking and tidying of glittery materials, there is a shot of a local river with oily residue and a bauble bobbing by. It’s an example of the cultural contradictions and the non-ethical working patterns and environmental effects which result from Neoliberal ‘Globalisation.’ Is the Mei Creek village itself ‘globalised’ – and if it is then why don’t we think about it when we hang up our tinsel?
The exhibition is on until December 22nd.
For more info: http://cfcca.org.uk/index.php/Exhibition/chen-hangfeng/