Li Chujun learning to patch holes

Summary by Li Chujun 李楚君 (student, SZU)(installation group)

The first time I came in the factory I was shocked by how small it was. However as the saying goes: “A sparrow has all the vital organs even though it’s small”. In the same way, the factory is small but complete.

During the workshop, our main job was to discuss and design together with the staff as much as possible. During these twelve days, we were together with them all the time, writing down their stories and assisting them with designing the pattern of their own column. In the end we even learned how to knit and to patch the holes in the textiles. Only when we joined the big family could we understand their hardship and difficulties. Most of them left other places in China for Shenzhen, to work here, far away from their hometown. Only during the Spring Festival, can they go back to join their families. Maybe it’s because of this that they also consider the factory as a big family. They work happily and freely. During work, they chat with each other and listen to music. Some even listen to books on the radio. The managers don’t consider themselves above anyone else in this factory, instead they are extremely kind and take on all kinds of tasks when needed. They said jokingly that they were the chore-men of this factory.

During the workshop, what impressed me most is that all the staff have been so kind and that they wanted to share their stories with us. Sometimes, during our discussions, we clearly disturbed their work. But it didn’t seem to bother them and they collaborated actively with us all the time.

To summarise, we worked extremely hard, but happily, for these twelve days. Our workshop was always full of laughter. Even though we had some problems and difficulties sometimes, such as when we had to make summaries in English, which is a disaster for me because of my poor English. As for architecture, I learned that when designing, you should be an assistant in helping others to express themselves, not a leader. Only in this way, can your design be full of stories and emotion.