Bade City used to be a hub of labor-intensive factories in Taiwan. Between the end of the 1980s and the 1990s, many local factories moved to other countries for cheaper labor. Deprived of their jobs, local people thus became temporary workers with irregular income. In 2002, Chen Chieh-Jen came here for a filming project, where he made friends with many temporary workers. With their help, he had often sneaked into several factories shut by court because of involuntary bankruptcy – while no one was allowed to enter the factories to be auctioned. The experience of wandering around the restricted area with temporary-worker friends has inspired Chen to create the work Bade Area.
In a silent essay-like form, the video depicts the the temporary workers and the unemployed, for an unknown reason, set off from a factory shut down after involuntary bankruptcy and march toward the direction shown on the property advertisement “The Grandeur Town” on both sides of the streets, and enter another abandoned factory to be auctioned by court. In the factory where all the facilities were prohibited to be moved around, the temporary workers and the unemployed workers kept moving the dusty desks, chairs, and industrial computers. The “purposeless labor” continued until the whole space was stuck with heaps of desks, chairs, and computers like a grave. Later, the camera followed an unemployed worker to climb up the tomb-like rooftop of the factory as if he were wandering around the wilderness without a direction. Although the factory was shut down by the court, it became a space guarded by no one. The rooftop was like the border between the restricted area and the public space – the “hetero-topia” where local people, the unemployed workers, and the temporary workers can freely organize all kinds of drinking or karaoke parties.
In the end of the video, the unemployed workers/performers return to the factory and leave with a shabby mattress from the restricted area.