The presentation is an overview of the project and a few of the core concepts. The project situates itself in the world of transnational trade in plastic goods in Yiwu the largest small-commodity market in the world today. The city provides a range of essential products like toothbrushes, packaging, and tarpaulins, and attracts buyers from across the global South. These low-cost plastic goods of Yiwu form the basis of my interest in plastic as a material. Considered the “substrate of advanced capitalism” (Davis,1995) plastic has been one of the most vilified materials of the 21stcentury. Yet, I feel that it is also a material of mimesis and simulation. Replicas of human hair, nails, breasts, flowers, fruit, foliage, earth and rock are abundant in this market. I would like to use this context of cheap plasticity to enter the debate on technology and futurity. If the future has come in the shape of Sophia and Samantha, high end personalized robots costing up to $20,000, then the future has also come in the shape of $1 flying fairies, sunflowers, and palm trees. Yiwu, with its plasticity and transnational character, is a site to think of futures of multiplicity and simultaneity.
The project will constitute the creation of a speculative documentary environment that explores this complex manufacturing and trading landscape as a laboratory of our "post-human" future.
Iram Ghufran is a filmmaker and artist working in moving image, sound and text. Her work has been shown in several international arts and cinematic contexts including the Berlin Film Festival, Experimental India, New York Indian Film Festival and SAARC Film Festival among others. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. by practice at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster, London.