FoxCarn & The Betel Store
2015, with Michael Huang and team.
Think global, exploit local! Achieve goals or else the man won’t burn!
Poking fun at the world’s most valuable brand, the Betel Store implicated all of us in the smoke and mirrors of the commodity fetish. Spotlighting the world’s greatest factory empire, FoxCarn simulated the human and environmental costs of manufacturing in China, laying bare the alienated labor and devastated landscapes that underwrite the rise of Silicon Valley and of Burning Man itself. Our project posed the question: Who wins and who loses in this world wide web of production and consumption, and how can we do it better?
FoxCarn & the Betel Store was located on the 2015 Carnival of Mirrors Midway around the Man base, on the 12:00 side.
Overseen by uniformed supervisors, “laborers” lined up to make “iSwag” blinky bracelets in the FoxCarn factory. Upon successful completion of their menial task, they were paid in custom wage tokens which were insufficient to buy back the product they just made for us, which then went out for display and sale in the Betel Store. Exploited workers and window-shoppers alike could attempt to “buy” back the iSwag or the Betel Store’s other popular products, including the iJack, a buttplug for your phone; the iGift, 1000 playa dust particles in a pendant, now with 50% more workers tears! the iMask, our branded breakthrough; or even the iMan: 20% taller, burns twice as long! Lucky customers could also avail of our counter-revolutionary swag “upgrade” and “re-branding” services.
Did you get yours?