Sabrina Merolla

Photographer, Multimedia Storyteller, Sinologist (PhD)
All China's Fast-Food Dreams
Location: London
Nationality: Italian
Biography:             Photographer, multimedia story-teller and sinologist longly living between China and Italy.  Her previous projects have mainly focused on contemporary China and its multifaceted identities and... MORE
Public Story
All China's Fast-Food Dreams
Copyright sabrina merolla 2023
Updated Feb 2016
Location China
Topics Abandonment, Capitalism, Community, Documentary, Dreams, Editorial, Food, Freedom, Globalization, Homelessness, Hope, Human Rights, Hunger, iPhone, Isolation, Loss, Migration, Minority, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture, Poverty, Street
There are plenty of well-known foreign franchising fast-foods in every Chinese mega-city. McDonalds, KFC, Burger King - they all arrived in the late 90s and their restaurants bloomed everywhere. 
Only thirty years ago McDonald's was almost unknown in Mainland China. But then the so-called market socialism started up a throughly capitalistic revolution named Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, whose ideals of general economic wealthiness born with Deng Xiaoping and directly linked to the American dream, founded today's newborn China Dream
During the last decades fast-food restaurants have been witnessing to a revolution of contemporary Chinese families' structure and life arrangements. Proposing cheap American foods and dreams -a different life-style model for the new consumers, foreign fast-foods have become part of urban spaces for an innumerable mass of people. They have become recognizable familiar simulacra for both, the local and the outsider. More than this, hidden in every anonymous compound of skyscrapers, they have lately surged up to an unspoken new role, they have become shelters. 
Fast food sleepers are a common presence in every fast-food chain in China. Young jobless migrants looking for luck in the megalopolis, homeless grannies left apart from the new society, young students going to the big city for university admission tests, drunk men and women who just do not want to go back home tonight, lunatics and, in general, anybody who cannot afford the price of a cheap hotel room and is looking for a warm night refuge. 
They are all here, poignantly showing the tale of to Chinas, hidden behind the curtain of every and any new development plan. They are all here, quietly wrapped in the surreal atmosphere of anonymous non-places, for a silent night of a day as the others, which slips away again.
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