One of the reassuring discoveries at the new “Loom of the Landscape” exhibition at the Stevenson, is that Brett Murray has not been intimidated by the storm of outrage that was orchestrated against his last exhibition at the Goodman. Although the satire is less blatant – no presidential penis in sight this time – more subtle but perhaps even more cutting. The symbolic rainbow that once graced the hopes of the “rainbow nation” has shrunk to the span of the presidential homestead complex at Nkandla. It suggests that the last beneficiary of the rainbow’s munificence is none other than Jacob Zuma and his extended family.
Archive for the ‘activism’ Category
Workers on a Foxconn assembly line in Southern China
Apple recently announced that over 2 million iPads have been sold since their launch in the US earlier this year. In fact, the company seems to have been struggling to meet the demand for their devices, with the European launch delayed, apparently because of insufficient stock. The Foxconn factory complex is typical of the places around southern China where high tech devices like the Apple iPad, (the Apple iPhone, the iPod, the Nintendo Wii and Dell computers) are assembled. In this particular complex over 300 000 workers labour in 12 hour shifts under highly controlled conditions. Recently, however, a spate of suicides amongst the workers have drawn attention to their grinding lives. Der Spiegel reports that:
Foxconn workers have to spend their lives almost entirely on the complex. One cargo truck after another delivers components and carries away finished products. There are no warehouses at Foxconn. Once workers assemble a mobile phone or a laptop, the device goes straight to customers. This flow of products can’t slow down.
Should tech owners feel personally responsible for these suicides? Farhad Manjoo argues that we simply can’t afford to deny ourselves these devices; like oil imported from dictatorships "we can’t opt out without modern life grinding to a halt". His solution is that consumers should speak out – even going so far as to email the CEOs of these tech companies – so that Apple, Microsoft and Dell etc have to address the working conditions where their technology gets assembled.