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Collecting, Cleaning and Sewing, Down, 2017, video installation (video stills), dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

LO Sheng-Wen

The Second Genre: The Sub-history of Wildlife Trade

While shopping for winter jackets, I realised that it is impossible for me to tell where exactly the feathers of mass-produced down jackets came from 1. Therefore, I attempted making my own down jacket in a relatively harmless way: by manually collecting the goose feathers on the grounds in the parks2, riverbanks, and forests near my house in Breda, the Netherlands.

After two months of collecting3, cleaning, filling and sewing, the jacket was put to test in the High Arctic (Spitsbergen archipelago) for three weeks to see if I can survive4. During this sailing expedition of The Arctic Circle Residency5, I made 21 landings and glacier hikes between 78°17'N-80°02'N, wearing only this jacket and minimum base layers. A guide booklet “A Step by Step Guide for Making Your Own Down Jacket” was designed based on my experiences to allow everyone to make a down jacket from where they live.

This project was made possible by: Mondriaan Fonds, The Arctic Circle Residency, BredaPhoto International Photo Festival

Graphic design and illustration: Hung Yi-Hsien

1Despite recent regulations, there are debates about the percentage of down production that still involves animal-cruelty. 
2Common habitats for escaped farm geese, and migrating Canadian geese.
3Approximately 3000 feathers collected, 80 grams (50% of target amount).
4Condition monitored with temperature sensors, thermal camera and heart-rate sensors. 
51st-19th October, 2017, before polar winter.


Lo Sheng-Wen, born in 1987 in Kaohsiung, based in Amsterdam, is interested in relationships between non-humans and societies, and attempts to spark off debates. He uses various media, including still/moving images, sound, video games and installations. He received his MA Photography from AKV|St.Joost, the Netherlands, and MSc in Computer Science from the Computer Music Lab at National Taiwan University.

Lo is the creative director of Lightbox Photo Library, and an artist in resident at The Arctic Circle Residency (2017) and Rijksakademie (2019-2021) in Amsterdam. His held his most recent museum solo in FOAM Fotografiemuseum, funded by NCAF, Mondriaan Fonds, De Nederlandsche Bank, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.