In 2016, while filming for the piece “The Birds Trashed Their Heads to Fly,” I was offered free use of facilities and labor force by a representative of an accessory factory in Đồng Văn, Vietnam in exchange for providing a unique design for the factory. And so, in early 2018, I started the while staying at Đồng Văn Industrial Park, about an hour from Hanoi. The industrial park is crowded with factories that mass produce the world’s cheapest accessories. Some of these factories specialize in copycat products, imitations of original products, and can essentially duplicate the product of any brand in about a week. In keeping with my original interest in the boundary between real and fake, I prepared my original piece and observed how it was altered within the mass production system.
While I was creating the original piece, an art collector lent me diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones for free, and a diamond-setting specialist helped me with the elaborate setting of these stones. I also used 18k gold for some pieces. The factory in Vietnam used cubic zirconia or epoxy to imitate the precious stones. And yet the six samples-for-sale that the factory produced were sufficiently flashy. The gap between the original and the imitations was at once wide and narrow. The exhibition “How to Arrange Glitter and Gold,” held in Korea, showcased the various stages and aspects of this project in display cases along with the final samples, and a portion of the samples remain at the factory in Vietnam.