The Making of the Chinese New Working Class

When 14 Jul 2011 - 4 Sep 2011
Where MINI/ Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38
38 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002
United States
Enquiry 212 228 6848

H.E.N.S at Unique Hair Stylists, July 15, 2011. Courtesy of the Culture and Art Museum of Migrant Workers Beijing and Ludlow 38 New York

July 14 – September 4 2011

Press Release:

Initiated in 2008 by a former migrant worker and musician, Sun Heng, the Culture and Art Museum of Migrant Workers is located in Picun, a village outside Beijing that is home to some 10,000 migrant workers. CAMMW is a project of Migrant Workers Home, an NGO founded in 2002, dedicated to supporting the rights of migrant workers, providing education for their children, and serving as a community center. The purpose of the museum is to record the histories of migrant workers and to advocate for the value of their labor. “The Making of the Chinese New Working Class” is an installation consisting of eight thematic topics that illustrate migrant workers conditions, and the re-creation of a migrant worker’s living space, and includes materials donated by migrant workers from across China. It is an installation that was originally part of the exhibition The Potosí Principle that traveled from the Museu Reina Sofia in Madrid, to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the IG Metall (metal workers union) in Berlin, to the Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore in La Paz.

To coincide with the exhibition, Ludlow 38 is launching a series of side-events conceived in collaboration with New York based artist Marty Kirchner and The Public School New York:

Session 1 | The Making of the Chinese Working Class, Opening night, July 14, 2011, 7pm at Ludlow 38 (38 Ludlow St., between Grand and Hester)

This session will feature a conversation between Zhibin Lin, co-founder (with Sun Heng) of the Culture and Arts Museum of Migrant Workers, and Ellen David Friedman, a union organizer and labor educator in both the U.S. and China. They will discuss the exhibition and Zhibin’s Workers Action Research Center, a labor NGO in Beijing of which the CAMMW is one facet; internal migration to urban economic zones; a new wave of proletarianization in China; and the emergence of labor unrest, including a series of recent strikes at Honda factories. This session will take place at the opening of the exhibition.

Session 2 | The Hanns Eisler Nail Salon/Nail Workers Chorus (H.E.N.S./N.W.C.), (re) Zoning, Manicured, July 15, 2011, 6:30-8:00pm, Unique Hairstylist, 47 Essex St.

Hosted by H.E.N.S./N.W.C., this session will take the form of a music soirée that both describes and denounces the forces of dislocation and dispossession at work in our communities. The evening aims to work toward strengthening the alignment between artists, residents and community organizers for the purpose of militant resistance to Capital’s turgid spatial fantasies.

Session 3 | Precarious Power: Syndicalism, Solidarity, and the New Organizational Paradigm,July 16, 2011, 4pm at the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, 25 West 43rd Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, 19th Floor

The reorganization of production along global supply chains, often through a complicated pattern of subcontracting, has provided significant challenges for the labor movement. Temporary and contingent employment has undermined labor rights protections worldwide. However, in the last few years both China and the West have seen a proliferation of dissident worker movements, new kinds of workers organizations and workers’ rights campaigns. The most dynamic and innovative of these have combined elements of community and labor organizing, cultural production, and direct action. This session will take the form of a moderated discussion, including both invited guests and the class participants, and facilitated by Immanuel Ness, professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, whose research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary movements, labor militancy and migrant worker resistance to oppression.

Session 4 | Discussion Group, August 1, 7pm, Seward Park (Meet in front of the library at 192 E. Broadway)

This session will take the form of an open discussion group and serve as an opportunity to discuss, in a less formal setting, the class topics explored in previous sessions.

Please visit The Public School New York to download the reading materials. For more information please click here.