MAQUILA REGION 4
Maquila Región 4 (MR4) is a performative intervention in the labour landscape of marginal areas of Mexico.
For the MR4 project, "Maquilas" are re-imagined in the tradition of critical work by
Fusco, Barrios, Arce, Werthein and other artist-activists. Maquilas are border town
factories in which Mexico provides raw materials and cheap labour, mostly women,
and the US provides management and ownership.
MR4 is a mobile factory for the manufacture of electronic-textile artworks. This
nomadic workshop travels to poor areas of Mexico offering American minimum
wage ($7.00 per hour, compared to $0.60 per hour in Mexico). People are hired to
produce fully functional electronic circuits using conductive thread. Maquilas' two
main products, textiles and electronics, are mixed by the MR4 project, using sowing
and embroidery which are common aptitudes among people in these marginal
areas. The actual textile-schematic circuits produced are alarms which ring with
different tones when a proximity sensor is activated.
Once a piece is finished, the worker embroiders on it a unique BiDi code (similar
to a QR Code). As the BiDi is decoded, typically by a consumer with a smart phone,
a web page appears which renders visibility to the process of production: name
of the worker, location, date and duration of the work session, salary received,
schematic and a "self-representation" section where the worker can optionally add
information on him or herself, stories, dedications, donations, videos or anything