Invisible Seen: Invisible Apples

Students in Ali Stewart-Ito’s Honors American Literature class were asked to create a graphic vignette that makes visible someone, something, or some intangible concept that has been “disappeared,” or is otherwise “invisible.” Accompanying the graphic, students wrote statements of intent explaining what they tried to make visible, why they chose that topic, and how their image brings the subject matter to light. To make the students’ topics even more visible and to bring the topics more attention, the Cardinal is publishing a few of the impressive final products.

My page of a graphic novel was created to tell the story of the workers. Consciously refraining from cursoriness, I wanted a topic that I felt was widespread and covered a lot of industries.

During lunch on Wednesday, I went to the school roof to work with the bee club in cleaning new hives for the bees, and while I was there, I noticed that there were construction workers right next to us, but we had no contact. The leaders of the club told us how, on cloudy days (which Wednesday was), the bees are sitting grumpily inside the hives, and that if we disturbed them, they would not be friendly.

Well what about the construction workers, I thought. If they were to aggravate these seemingly dormant insects, they would be debilitated.

Once we got to class, I continued to ruminate about these people constructing the hives in which we live, and how they come and go and no one ever really knows them. They come in, make their cacophony, and leave again when their work is done.

I pondered these ideas when we were prompted to think about the invisible in class. I liked the idea of projecting this idea of invisible workers into my project, so I considered a company that incorporates a myriad of them. I decided to go into depth on Apple.

On each of their devices, the packaging says something like, “designed in California, manufactured in China.” I wanted to depict the jobs that are behind the new pair of earbuds you just bought, without strictly rebuking the company. Neither did I want to point out hierarchy in the company, but rather, the people who aren’t seen.

 I decided to divide my page into three floors of a building. I drew the designing process of Apple in the top floor, since it is the first step in creating products. In the floor under that, I depicted a minimal manufacturing plant where all there is to see is an assembly line, workers, and an overbearing countdown to the “next break.” On the ground floor, I drew the Apple store with its clean edges and professionalism. I put this step of the process as the ground floor, because that is all that people can see of the process.

In my drawing, people walk by the enormous, genteel store, only able to see the shiny new products in the clean cut room, ignorant of the floors above them. By drawing these processes into a building, I hope to synthesize the story of the earbuds.