Tools/Chinese Sausage Made in Germany

Chinese Sausage Made in Germany

Tagged: food, outsourcing
Year: 2005

Chinese Sausages made in Germany is a response to the fact that several cities in Europe are shrinking due to high unemployment caused by mainly outsourcing of labor to China.

Chinese sausage is a generic term referring to the many different types of sausages originating in China, the La Chang being one of them.

Chinese sausage made in Germany is a reversed out-sourcing strategy.

It was presented at the "Shrinking Cities - Interventions" at GFZK in Leipzig and later the sausage was presented at the Shanghai International Creative Industry Week. The sausage is a result of an intense research into the phenomena of outsourcing.


Photo: Superflex


Outsourcing Shrinking Cities - Outsourcing Chinese sausages. 

The Lachang is a Chinese sausage made by German workers with the intention of selling it in China. On 26 November 2005 it was presented at the "Shrinking Cities - Interventions" at GFZK in Leipzig and on 30 November the sausage was presented at the Shanghai International Creative Industry Week. 

The sausage is a result of an intense research into the phenomena of outsourcing. 

SUPERFLEX was invited to participate in the Shrinking Cities project Shrinking Cities is a research and exhibtion project dealing with the phenomena of shrinkage of cities. The focus for the project is the development of strategies for dealing with shrinking cities in Eastern Germany. SUPERFLEX was asked to propose such stategies. 

We wanted to let the invitation serve as an occasion to twist the contemporary global order of outsourcing. We decided to outsource the task given to us by the Shrinking Cities project. Western companies outsource all sorts of production to China, Reuters outsources journalism to India - so why not outsource the task of planning the future for German shrinking cities to a Chinese company? 

The usual way of doing this is contacting a sourcing agent who establishes contact with the production facilities. We contacted a firm called Access Asia and presented them with the tasks as formulated by the organizers of Shrinking Cities: 

  • The development of strategies for action for eastern Germany

  • How to take advantage of unplanned urban structures.

  • Initiate innovative approaches to solutions.

  • Propose a selection of potential interventions that offers exemplary perspectives for culturally dealing with shrinking cities.

  • Give the respective sites ideas for discussing their new situation and local actors new possibilities of action.

The sourcing agent at Access Asia did some research and concluded that the standard Chinese answer to such tasks would be to bulldoze everything, and rebuild it again since capitalism seems to thrive from destruction. "Making DVD players in China is one thing - asking for advise on urban planning quite another"...Finally he remarked that we did not have the necessary budget to be playing at the level he was working at.. 

We decided to work in a more informal manner. At this point we had joined up with a Danish China expert, Mads Holst Jensen, who helped us spread the word to Chinese newsgroups, Chinese institutions and universities. We created an idea competition and went to Shanghai to look for a potential partner. At this point IBM hardware department was being sold to the Chinese company, Lenovo, and the Taiwanese company BenQ had just bought Siemens mobile...We were told that "the yellow mans burden" is a saying among Asian managers referring to their moral obligation to save Western workplaces...(100 years ago Rudyard Kiplings famous quote "the white mans burden" was used as a description of the moral obligation of the West to civilize and thereby colonize the East). Maybe the answer to the tasks were to reverse the order of outsourcing. 

During the discussions with potential partners we were asked about the specialities of the German cities in question and the idea of following the logic of the sausage came up...A sausage is often made of unsaleable meat and thereby turning potential waste into quality food. Could this be considered as an appropriate metaphor for the tasks formulated by Shrinking Cities. Are these cities to be considered as unsaleable cities in search for processes reinventing them. Furthermore, could the surplus value of the famous german sausage culture become a new asset. What if China outsourced its production of Chinese sausages to Germany and sold them in China? 

We contacted a sausage producing company in Leipzig, Opitz, and provided them with a Chinese recipe for making a Lachang, a famous Chinese sausage... 

Thanks to:
Mads Holst Jensen


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