The photo series Assembly Line Pas de Trois is an ongoing collaboration between me and the artist collective Future Host. Speculative in nature, these projects use studio photography and its attendant dynamics and relations as a playful, vulnerable interface to invent and interrogate post-socialist Chinese subjectivities that otherwise resist legibility.
Assembly Line Pas de Trois, explores questions of gender, labor, and performativity in the characters of young women working anonymously in the world’s factory, Dongguan. Signifiers of gender are simultaneous activated as they are erased by the plastic sheen of their polyester dust-proof protective suits and thin rubber-bottomed stockings. Reacting against the dominant imagination of Asian futurism and its celebration of late capitalist, accelerationist aesthetics, these three girls find themselves in a brave new world where the mechanization and uniformity of femininity found in the classic Cultural Revolution-era model ballet Red Detachment of Women carry on in the production line, this time with a cyberpunk spin. They can only dance.