“Songjiang, the Expo trip destination City” – featured one billboard along the way to Songjiang District 松江区, an Industrial Zone in the outskirts of Shanghai. Another one: “China Superhuman Group”. China’s highways are excellent lines of investigation to understand the course of its culture, construction and commerce. As part of the Transit Labour-project, last week MovingCities joined on a field trip to the Shanghai Meadville Electronics IT facility. Snapshots while monitoring city building and circuit board manufacturing.
On invitation of long-time collaborator and conspirator Ned Rossiter [see Transdisciplinary Research on Creative Industries in Beijing ’07 and Urban China #33 | Creative China ’09] we got introduced to the Transit Labour-project:
Transit-labour investigates changing patterns of labour and mobility in the whirlwind of Asian capitalist transformation. Mindful of the view of Asia as the world’s factory, this three year research project examines the role of creativity, invention and knowledge production in the new economic order being forged from the region’s capitalist centres. Particular attention is given to changing relations of culture and economy in this transition and their entanglement with the production of new subjectivities and modalities of labour.
The research focuses on the precariousness and mobility of creative labour across three cities: Shanghai (2010), Kolkata (2011) and Sydney (2012). Each of these cities is the site of a research platform that combines online and offline methods to map conceptual and material linkages between labour, mobility and subjectivity.
The objective of the visit to the IT facility was to know how the plant works/operates – the manufacturing process, but also where the circuit boards travel to next in the assembly process, how the logistics of all of that works (orders/inventories, etc). For more background read “From IT Factory to Electronic Markets” by Ned Rossiter:
Following earlier waves of manufacturing across East Asia where ‘Made in Japan’ and, later, ‘Made in Taiwan’ became synonymous with a range of electronic commodities and attendant mythologies of techno-cultural dystopias, over the last two decades China has become renowned as the planet’s epicentre for electronic manufacturing. When purchased, one of the primary attractions of an electronic commodity is how clean it seems.
In the plant, where high-end communications equipment and consumer electronic industries are produced and assembled, no photography was allowed. Snapshots to-and-fro Songjiang’s factory land.
Pictures by movingcities.org
- Transit Labour – Circuits, Regions, Borders
Anja Kanngieser, Brett Neilson, Ned Rossiter
Culture in Transition: Creative Labour and Social Mobilities in the Asian Century
Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney