LOCATION: Vengatan/Artillerigatan MAP. Outdoors.
Between 2010 and 2020, Stefen Chow and Huiyi Lin travelled 200,000 kilometres in 36 countries and territories on six continents to create case studies of the choices people are forced to make when they live on the poverty line. How much food can you buy with the money you earn in one day? And: How much of your daily income is spent on shopping for the food you need?
The food items were selected based on their availability in as many as possible of the economies covered by the project, in order to reinforce the sense of today’s globalization of food production and consumption. The food was photographed with a dramatic spotlight effect – reminiscent of classic still life paintings, but with contemporary realism. Local newspapers served as monotonous backdrops, with headlines screaming for attention, mirroring our endless obsession with information in a connected and distracted civilization.
The Poverty Line questions our understanding of poverty and inequality. The project traverses cultures and economic systems and confronts the viewer with objective, non-emotional observations of each individual’s circumstances, framed by the fragile balance between social structures, growth and divisions in a tangled world.
Stefen Chow, who was born in Malaysia in 1980 and grew up in Singapore, is an award-winning director and photographer. Huiyi Lin, born in Singapore in 1980, has trained as an economist and market researcher. The book The Poverty Line, published in 2021 by Actes Sud (French) and Lars Müller Publishers (English), has been featured by The New York Times, and was selected by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for its inaugural list of “Favorite Photo Books of 2021”.