Alain Delorme - Totems (2010)

Totems features the acrobatic stacking feats of Shanghai’s bikers.

Delorme explains, ‘Cardboard and chairs seem to be the new totems of a society in transformation, both the world’s factory and new Eldorado of the market economy.’

The series is not presented in a documentary style. Instead, Delorme plays with color editing to create an ‘augmented reality’ that ‘puts light on the paradoxes of the most dynamic city in China.”

Artist’s statement:

"They show the reality of the migrants and their small jobs, the reality as well of the expansion of Shanghai, with all these skyscrapers rising up. It is some kind of augmented reality, though [the ‘totems’ are photoshopped]: you do see these workers carrying their impressive loads throughout the city. I just exaggerated the piles to draw attention to them, while still trying to remain believable. There are also some incoherent details left on purpose, to encourage questioning on what is true or not. For instance, one of the workers drives with flowers in front of his eyes. How could he do that in real life?”

show notes
Septim themes