Flames Maquiladora (2001-2003)
Shown at South London Gallery as part of '20 Million Mexicans Can’t be Wrong’, and the Dutch Pavilion in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), Flames Maquiladora invites visitors to work for free in a wrestling shoe sweatshop-cum-installation. The Mexican word ‘maquiladoa’ refers to the factories located in free trade zones, where United States firms base their manufacturing to make use of Mexican cheap labour. At the heart of the project seems to be a metaphor - between maquiladoras and the art world. The visitor works for free to make these shiny red boots. Any finished products would then have gone on to be sold as artworks. Like the artist, the visitor is exploited by the prevailing art world systems. A nice outcome of this two year project is that not one pair of boots was actually completed by the visitors, again a nice metaphor to artist as subvertor.