Expedited Labor symbolically addresses the reliance on seasonal migrants and the inequities that exist within a globalized system. With the onset of COVID-19 and closed border policies implemented throughout Europe, a food crisis developed and restrictions were lifted to meet labor demands. Romania supplies a significant workforce to Western European countries. It made hasty travel exemptions to seasonal workers, even though it was experiencing one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 due to the returning diaspora. Romania’s export of its workforce is portrayed through the form of postage stamps.
I decided to focus on a product-centered minimalist design that mirrors ad campaigns designed to entice consumers. The product is starting to spoil, which becomes evident upon closer inspection. I wanted to allude to the structure of globalization in which there is uncertainty behind the “where” and the “how” of services and the consumer complicity inherent in the system. I also intended to emphasize just how essential this labor is so that food doesn’t rot in the fields. The passport stamps in the corners represent the entry point and date into each European country. The text on the side of some of the stamps states the number of infections during outbreaks in work camps. They were largely due to inadequate working conditions.