BROWN GOODS

“Brown Goods” is a widely used colloquial term for electronic consumables. This elusive wordplay also gives insight into the themes of the film: race and notions of value. Undocumented West Africans living in Hamburg trade these recycled “Brown Goods” to make a living. Some of these economic migrant traders have weathered the seas, travelling precariously from countries such as Nigeria via Lampedusa by boat, eventually ending up in the free and Hanseatic state of Hamburg – its historical harbour regarded as a gateway to the global world of trade. Yet importation and exportation in this case, not only relates to the trading of goods but also the freedom of movement and the value or lack of, these workers.

The countries they once fled for Europe, is now poignantly the very hand that feeds them. West African exporters come all the way to Hamburg to transport goods such as cars and e-consumables to Africa, aided by the labour of these migrant workers. “Brown Goods” enters this curious world of transatlantic trade by profiling some of these workers to gain insight into their unusual situation.

BROWN GOODS

“Brown Goods” is a widely used colloquial term for electronic consumables. This elusive wordplay also gives insight into the themes of the film: race and notions of value. Undocumented West Africans living in Hamburg trade these recycled “Brown Goods” to make a living. Some of these economic migrant traders have weathered the seas, travelling precariously from countries such as Nigeria via Lampedusa by boat, eventually ending up in the free and Hanseatic state of Hamburg – its historical harbour regarded as a gateway to the global world of trade. Yet importation and exportation in this case, not only relates to the trading of goods but also the freedom of movement and the value or lack of, these workers.

The countries they once fled for Europe, is now poignantly the very hand that feeds them. West African exporters come all the way to Hamburg to transport goods such as cars and e-consumables to Africa, aided by the labour of these migrant workers. “Brown Goods” enters this curious world of transatlantic trade by profiling some of these workers to gain insight into their unusual situation.