Made in China: The Fingerprints Behind the Knickknacks


We don’t often stop and think about the people behind outsourced production. Lorena Turner’s Made in China project provides visual evidence that actual human beings construct and handle each plastic knickknack we buy. Purchased in US department stores and bodegas, these rubrics cubes, light bulbs, and sandwich holders were carefully removed from their packaging, dusted for fingerprints and photographed under a black light, revealing fingerprints and smudges. “Made in China is not intended to comment on the scale or absurdity of our consumptive practices, but to remind us that we are only one factor in that equation,” she writes. Click through to see “the human factor” of outsourced production in our gallery.

Lorena Turner, Rubik’s Cubes, 2008

Lorena Turner, Light Bulbs, 2010

Lorena Turner, Needles, 2010

Lorena Turner, Calculator, 2008

Lorena Turner, Christmas Ornament Packaging, 2008

Lorena Turner, Ball with Puerto Rican Flag, 2008

Lorena Turner, Pencil Sharpeners, 2009

Lorena Turner, Plastic Clock Back, 2008

Lorena Turner, Sandwich Container, 2008

Lorena Turner, Rubber Letter Stamp Set, 2008

Lorena Turner, Tape Measure, 2008

Lorena Turner, Disposable Camera, 2008

Lorena Turner, Plastic Bag, 2008

Lorena Turner, Back of Circuit Board for Remote Control, 2009