Chen Zhengli

"Kitchen Hand"

Section MS8, Gabriella Hirst

Keywords: photography, objects, domestic space

Critical discourse around the distribution of housework has developed and changed through recent decades. There is a growing understanding of the complexity of the interaction between paid and unpaid work, with much of the focus placed upon the conflict of gender-based work allocation. The recent outbreak of Covid-19 has led me personally to consider the distribution of housework within my own family, paying closer attention to the allocation of household labour across different generations, from parent to child and vice versa. In this project I wished to pay close attention to these nuanced relationships of care and labour within a cross-generational domestic space.

This project considers these ideas through the recycling and photographing different kinds of household tools. The original use of these tools was for the nurture and care between parents and children. The tools I have collected are worn out by long-term reuse, carrying with them histories of labour and care, but at the brink of being discarded. Through this project, I am attempting to preserve these objects significance through the media of photographic image. The meaning of these tools will be re-materialised, although without their original function. These tools can help to locate, define and give tangible meaning to a place and time that will soon only exist in memory.