Jing Zhang Offers a Piece of Utopia
A life is a reach towards utopia in many ways. The perfect world can be built around you, even if just piece-by-piece and even if the utopia doesn’t extend outside the walls of your home. But depending on who you are and what your dreams are, your utopia could be on the other side of tomorrow. Jing Zhang took it upon herself to imagine what a utopia could look like in her series ‘Utopia Dwelling’ that imagines a handful of homes perfectly suited for a variety of utopias. “I had a trip to New Zealand visiting Hobbiton [the hometown of the Hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’]. I had the idea it would be great to see them being modernized for living,” Jing explains. “Other inspirations include 'Howl's Moving Castle,' lots of architecture, and tree houses. When I was kid I'd like drawing crazy fun houses.” That childhood exploration has now become a full-fledged visual study.
The meaning of ‘utopia’ is not only different from person to person but it can change over time. Where a world of ice cream might have sounded awesome as a kid, it might scare adults who are now lactose intolerant. Jing’s own idea of utopia has shifted since she was a child, putting more focus on sustainability. “Instead of childhood fun houses, my idea of Utopia nowadays is more towards self-sufficiency and self-functioning, without being powered by fuel, or relying on extra sources,” she says. “The sub-marine house is perhaps the closest model to the idealism I have in mind. We could fully utilize the power of mother nature.” It’s all about harmony.
It seems like the world outside our doors is getting scarier and scarier, so perhaps the best place to retreat isn’t just a utopia, but into the boundless imaginations inside of us all. “Joy and whimsy keep us refreshed and constantly inspired,” she says. “There is too much branding in our creative industry that we often forget about the fun part of creative process. And it is therapeutic to create with my own imagination.” Our best utopia is possibility and in ‘Utopia Dwellings’ Jing offers us a whole selection of possibility to build on.