Cao Fei’s Asia One, part musical, part love story, takes audiences inside the logistics hub of Jingdong, or JD.com, a Chinese business-to-consumer e-commerce giant—one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing and distribution facilities in the country. Granted unprecedented access to interview JD.com employees, as well as to film onsite, Cao imagines a very real hyper-industrialised future where work is almost completely automated. Set in the fictional Asia One Unmanned Warehouse, Asia One follows the story of the facility’s only two human employees and their robotic assistant as a love triangle gradually develops.
Asia One is a continuation of Cao’s long-term interest in China’s rapid social, economic, and technological transformation, and is the unofficial sequel to her breakout film Whose Utopia? (2006), currently on view in the exhibition M+ Sigg Collection: From Revolution to Globalisation.
YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES | 1999 | Digital | English | 3 min. 30 sec.
An anonymous narrator is liberated from their existential angst and ennui thanks to Samsung, the South Korean multinational manufacturing conglomerate. The narrator’s repeated expressions of love and desire seem absurd, but also underscore the pervasive power of technology corporations and their role in shaping personal and national identity.
Image at top: Cao Fei. Asia One, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space