I love Hoda Afshar's portraits and videos from Manus Island (it's Australia's Refugee Devil's Island - you go in but you n...
Friday, 1 May 2015
I'm a High-Grade White! Hire me!
image by Bianca Bosker: image of imitation Eiffel Tower from Hangzhou
This video by David Borenstein looks at the practice of renting foreigners to lend prestige to failing housing developments in China. Go through the ad and watch it. It is great.
The basic idea is if you're finding it hard to shift your out of town housing development, you rent a few white people to give it that cosmopolitan feel. It's an extension of the copycat property developments you have had in China over the last 20 years but with the additional delight that you get high-grade, medium-grade and low-grade whites. Oh dear. Which would you be? And what would you hire the low-grade whites for? The mind boggles.
It's like having a guy in a turban standing in from of an Indian restaurant, but with the idea that the white guys are adding a patina of transparency, sex appeal and a virtual doorway out of the country. There might also be something going on under the surface about redressing past humiliations of China at the hands of the West by having a skin colour for hire, but in this video, it's mostly it's about seeing young white men stripped down to their nick-nacks and looking sheepish while Chinese women of wealth and experience cast their lustful eyes over the buff(ish) bodies of Europeans in China. That skin is like a blank slate on which you can project whatever fantasies you like.
If you can't afford a white, blacks are cheaper and still give an international feel. But Indians would have to be specially brought in. There doesn't seem to be a market for them.
The hiring of white people doesn't just come down to their being part of the marketing entertainment for these buildings, or becoming part of a pretence that they're living in these buildings. A lot of people like to pretend white people are their engineers
"The real value of a house or any product doesn't really
"As long as there is a good image, people will be willing
"For the time being...
the image has become the reality."
But isn't that true of everything.
Watch the whole thing here.