‘n scale: living memorial’ 2013 – 2015/16 (work-in-progress)

‘n scale’ takes as its starting point a fire that took place in a factory in Thailand on May 10th 1993, killing 188 people, mostly young migrant women. The factory was owned by Kader Industrial, a global multinational that makes toys and miniature rail accessories for Western markets - specifically 'n scale' plastic shipping containers, sold in the UK under the Graham Farish/Bachmann brand. The work aims to recuperate the tragic and needless death of these victims, through a ‘living memorial’ that stages remembering as an act of critique and reflection.

‘n scale: living memorial’ currently exists as a ‘vessel’ made of nested Perspex boxes, designed into a configuration drawn from the site plan of the factory complex that burned down. It contains 188 tiny 'n scale' plastic shipping containers, wrapped up in ribbons, each one a small relic to each of the 188 victims. 
This particular event and the object that memorializes it, stand as an emblem for many similar tragedies that underlie the rapacious flows of transnational Global trade, and its need for supply-chain seamlessness. For this reason, a certain distance is maintained from the specificities of the Kader fire itself, allowing for these broader connections to be made. In this regard, unlike many public memorials, the names of the victims are withheld. Instead each is given a number – in the form of shipping container numbers – as another reminder of the structures of ‘devaluation’ that conscribed their lives as factory labourers under neoliberal capitalism.

The living memorial was shown in its ‘object’ form as part of ‘Diagrams’, group show curated by Niamh McDonnell. Pallas Projects, Dublin and Queen Street Studios Gallery, Belfast (Sept – Nov 2015).


It is intended that the memorial object will be ‘activated’ as a series of live events in public spaces throughout the UK. Dates TBC.
Assembly Instructions