For almost three years, we worked on a sneaker company that we knew would go bankrupt on the day it was founded. This is our coming out.
The fictional company Rayfish.com offered personalized sneakers crafted from genetically modified stingray leather. The online storytelling project was created to catalyze a debate on emerging biotechnologies and the products it may bring us. It furthermore questioned our consumptive relationship with animals and products in general. While such discussions often remain abstract, we aimed to make them tangible in a concrete product you can love or hate.
The rise and fall of Rayfish Footwear took place within a period of seven months. The story began with the launch of the corporate website, commercial, CEO lecture and online design tool. The startup immediately received significant media attention and seemed bound for success, however, there were also critical petitions against the company’s instrumental use of animals.
While almost ten thousand people had designed their own fish sneaker, animal rights activists broke into the company and released all the fishes in the ocean. The CEO of the company, Dr. Raymond Ong, responded with a passionate video statement, which stirred further debate on our estranged relationship with products in a globalized world.
While Rayfish was struggling to find new investors, the escaped fishes where out in the open and started appearing into video’s of tourists and fishermen. The story ended with the bankruptcy of Rayfish, after which the true objective of the company was revealed and the ‘making of video’ was released.
Further information on our motivations, collaborators and supporters can be found on the Rayfish Event webpage. We welcome comments on the Rayfish Facebook page or in the box below. Thanks for participating!
This morning we received an astounding video from a group of animal right activists that broke in at Rayfish Footwear, the Thai based fashion brand that creates $1500 personalized sneakers from genetically engineered stingray leather.
The amateur recording (turn volume down before playing) shows the anonymized activists plundering the fish breeding facility of the company, while ‘rescuing’ the stingrays. At the end of the video the fish are released in the ocean.
Rayfish.com was launched some months ago with a contest that invited people to design their own stingray patterns. The most beautiful designs where grown on the skins of the transgenic fish and turned into personalized stingray leather shoes. Some of the happy winners had already received their pair of Snaketongue, Flamingo Zebra or Golden Dalmatian shoes.
Earlier its CEO Raymond Ong gave a lecture at our Next Nature Power Show in which he unfolded his groundbreaking biocustomization technique. Although there where many enthusiastic responses there was also much controversy around the company. Seems some of the hard core protesters now decided to take action.
We have tried to contact Rayfish Footwear to confirm the robbery, but haven’t been able to reach them. At this moment there is no mentioning of the break-in on the Rayfish blog, nor on their Facebook, or Twitter pages. To be continued…