The Provenance Project


I want to set up a project where I trace the provenance of a retail item – a Kinder Egg say – back from it’s point of sale, back to the distribution centre (where is the distribution centre? who drove it to the shop? what hours do they work and for how much pay? how did they come to do the job? who works at the distribution centre? what hours and how much pay? what is the culture like? what is the place itself like? how do they feel towards the products?) then back further, following the item back to it’s place of manufacture – where is the place of manufacture? how does it get from the place of manufacture to the distribution centre? who transports it? what hours do they work and for what pay? How did they come to do the job? how many people are involved in the manufacturing process? How does the manufacturing process work? how do the raw materials coming into the factory get turned into the finished product? what hours do they work and for how much pay? What is the culture like? how do they feel towards the process? How much does it cost to manufacture the item? Then further back, tracing the journey the raw materials took to get to the place of manufacture – who brought them and how? how many hours does that person work and how much do they get paid? Where did the materials come from? What/who was involved in their extraction/processing/gathering/cultivation? How much do those people get paid? How much are the raw materials worth at this stage? And on until we get to the bare earth, untouched by the hand of man.


About hughchapmansblog

Poet and performance maker based in Cambridge and London

2 responses to “The Provenance Project

  1. David A

    I really wanted to do this with my album, like with all the drum machines and things I used, what were the labour conditions under which they were made, in what countries etc. but quickly realised it was pretty much impossible (given most of the stuff was made int he 80s and mid 90s). Probably is viable with a Kinder egg or something like that but you’d have to hassle the manufacturer I reckon – would be quite a feat of investigative journalism….

  2. Hi David – yes not an easy one to realise. The furthest I’ve got with a plan is to hang around at the back of Primark and chat to some delivery drivers – see if I can hitch a lift back to the depot and take it from there. I’m not quite feeling brave enough to go that Gonzo just now! It might be something I can explore through my work at the Co Op. I’m going to be down performing some poetry at Josie’s art show at the Mernier Gallery in the afternoon of Saturday 15th December – would be great to see you if you’re about

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