Nan Qian

The introduction of automation in industrial production can be traced to Ford Motor Company in the 1940s. From the moment machines could perform repetitive tasks, the value of human labor has been a critical question and concern. In our contemporary context there is an increasing cultural appreciation for goods and services that are directly connected to human providers including farmers, artisans, and brewers which begs the question: has automation made human labor more valuable? Formally inspired by the plunger-type butter churner used by 18th century American pioneers, “Butter Churner” is motor powered but operates at a human’s pace.

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