Co.Design

CSI-Style Photos Reveal Hidden Human Hands Behind Chinese Goods

Lorena Turner, a self-described “social scientist with a camera,” scoured her local department stores and bodegas for cheap, made-in-China products.

Most of us assume that packaging protects the stuff we buy from people and their grubby paws. Boy, are we wrong. As a series of photographs by New York- and L.A.-based Lorena Turner shows, even our most meticulously packaged goods betray evidence of human taint. Turner's got the fingerprints to prove it.

Turner, a self-described "social scientist with a camera," scoured her local department stores and bodegas for cheap, made-in-China products, snatching up everything from remote controls and disposable cameras to needle threaders and sandwich containers. After carefully removing the cardboard boxes and plastic wrap, she dusted for fingerprints. Then she flipped on a blacklight and started snapping away.

The result: Fingerprints everywhere! Okay, not everywhere. Some of the products checked out clean (though as sleuthy Turner tells Co.Design, that might be because the fingerprint powder didn't stick — not because the objects were print-free).

The point of these photos — now on display at 0.00156 Acres in Brooklyn — isn't to make you paranoid about the cleanliness of every damn thing you slip in your shopping cart. It's about putting a face or, more literally, a print, on an all-too-faceless aspect of the supply chain. "Made in China highlights the human factor and invisible history in each object's production," Turner says, "and forces us to reconsider the relationship those who are leaving their fingerprints on each item may have with it."

[Images courtesy of Lorena Turner; hat tip to The Architect's Newspaper]

Add New Comment

2 Comments