Digital Fashion x Visual Activism
Zongbo Jiang is a 3D visual artist based in London.
He is currently studying Fashion at the Royal College of Art focusing on digital fashion. Having a background in graphic and product design, his design philosophy has always been true to sculpting a narrative for visual communication.
He observes the collisions and discussions between
aspects of daily life, focusing on social and environmental issues. His work centers around creating digital characters, which often take strange and comedic forms. These characters are placed in virtually crafted spaces to solidify the narrative Jiang creates to share the concepts he is portraying.
Dilemmas for Earthlings
Social/ Environmental/ Animal
The illustration depicts the idea for my final work which has a working title ‘Earthlings’. The work will be
a 'moving painting' in the form of a video, which is inspired by the paintings of Bosch, I plan to show a
group of digital characters situated in a virtual space within the frame, to emphasise the grandeur of the
issues I am referencing. There are 3 different layers to the 'painting': looking at social, animal
and environmental issues, the structure is inspired by that of 'The Seven Deadly Sins'. I will use camera
movements and techniques for the viewer to see details of each story, the camera will then pan down
through each of the levels. After this each character will walk from the frame: social, human, animal and
environment and they will cross a bridge representing the bringing to light of these topics. Offering a different
digital representation and perspective of these issues to how they have been seen before and to share the
problems that we face as earthlings.
After this each one will walk from the frame: social, human, animal and environment. The characters will cross a bridge which represents the bringing to light of these issues in a different way to how they have been seen before to share the issues that we face as earthlings.
DEL>x6F//50<2000000000> presents three digital
characters in a virtual landscape exploring the human
impact of social media. The work is heavily influenced
by the documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, visualising
specific data based around control, truth and digital
cleaning; to provoke an awareness and conversation
about the darker truths of social media companies.
Connected/Manipulated highlights the influence and control a small group of people from these companies have over billions of people, particularly a younger audience and how their attention is fed back into the companies through advertising, rapidly growing them without concern of the effects on these users.
True/Fake looks further into the concept of control with the information that is shared and presented to users on these platforms. Truth becomes lost with certain information only being shown to specific groups of people and the speed of fake news spreading faster than fact and how this has been used to manipulate people’s decisions, specifically with elections.
Ignore/Delete considers how when exploring the way that we are shown information it is important to consider the things that we don’t see. ‘The Cleaners’ are the underpaid and unseen workers for social media companies who monitor and delete offensive, pornographic and subversive posts on social media sites.
Gulp, Rip, Buzz, Woohoo, Wha-psh are a collection of five videos including digital characters which explore the concept of animal welfare. The work is inspired by PETA’s ethos; ‘animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for our entertainment or abuse in any other way’. As a form of 'visual activism’ the collection reflects data and research to share the issues in an alternative form, to open a conversation about how we can improve the way animals are treated by us and within these industries.
Gulp references the often unseen or overlooked happenings within the meat and dairy industry. The character references how the animals are overfed to ‘fatten up’ and fast track growth before being killed for meat. Also how dairy cows are refined to tiny spaces, unable to move and turned into milk producing machines. Also referencing how the combination of these problems not only have an effect on the animals, but contributes to the destruction of the environment too.
Woohoo is based on the mistreatment of animals as entertainment, focusing on the ‘tradition’ of bullfighting. The bulls are often isolated in darkness for 48 hours prior to the ‘fight’ to increase their confusion and anguish when they are released into the light of the arena. The bulls are typically physically and mentally drained before they are finally killed.
Wha-psh is based on the abuse of animals focusing on the coconut industry in Thailand where there have been reports of monkey labour. The monkey’s are chained and forcibly trained to pick coconuts. They are removed from their habitat, beaten and tortured and made to work for hours to collect coconuts.
Buzz looks at the mistreatment and use of animals in experiments, of which there are more than 9 million animals are experimented on in Europe every year. From cosmetic testing to medical experiments the animals are confined to cages and suffer severe injuries as a result of the tests. The tests range from ‘poison’ tests for chemicals to electrocution.
Rip looks at how animals are treated when obtaining materials for fashion. Referencing not only how animals are slaughtered to meet the demands of the leather industry, but how they are also abused, tortured and sometimes killed for materials such as feathers and wool.
Altered States presents a virtual space exploring the effects of global warming. Through three phases the work explores and exaggerates the effects through the use of light, colour, texture, characters and garments. The virtual space offers an insight into the past, present and possible future effects of global warming.
“It’s too bloody hot” — The inspiration for this character came from the effects of global warming on everyday life. The results of this left us with a unusually hot summer in the UK. It’s interesting to see how the country deals with the unexpected hot weather. A lot of people find this heat uncomfortable as it is not the norm for the UK, therefore don’t know how deal with it.
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” — This character explores environmental issues, focusing on the use of plastics and there pollution of the sea. It references the discomfort people feel when being given these items, when being aware of the environmental impacts.
Mother of Earthlings
Mother of Earthlings is inspired by different issues that are faced on our planet, the digital character presents three layers that focus on social issues, animal rights and environmental issues. The character highlights the control, manipulation and the concept of truth within social media. Furthermore, acting as ‘visual activism’ to explore global warming and the rights of earthlings, specifically looking at animal treatment. The character reflects data and research to share the issues in an alternative form, to open a conversation about how we can improve the way we all live on this planet as earthlings.