This week’s episode of massively popular US podcast This American Life zones in on Apple, Foxconn, and the workers that assemble one of the the most ubiquitous device brands on the planet.
Mike Daisey is a hilarious monologuist and avid Apple fan whose curiosity was piqued with those notorious iPhone factory photos that showed up on somebody’s device a few years ago. He took a trip to Shenzhen (quote: “Shenzhen looks like Bladerunner threw up on itself”) to visit Foxconn and did what we can’t believe he was somehow allowed to do: stood outside and simply talked to the factory workers as they walked out.
He then goes incognito and enters the factory. It’s incredible (incredibly lucky) and illuminating. Particularly when he describes the special kind of silence in a factory filled with thousands of moving bodies (something you can also experience vividly in the opening sequence of Manufactured Landscapes.)
“You don’t have to dream about some sci-fi dystopian Bladerunner 1984 bullshit, you can go to Shenzhen tomorrow. They’re making your crap that way today.”
Well worth a listen. This American Life, as always, does a great job of checking facts and gathering some perspective. You can download or stream the episode here.