The Rise and Fall of Rayfish Footwear

Online storytelling project

Rayfish Footwear is an online storytelling project on a fictional company that offered personalized sneakers crafted from genetically modified stingray leather. The launch of the company website catalyzed a debate on emerging biotechnologies and the products it may bring us. It also 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 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, Raymond Ong, responded with a passionate video statement through which he stirred further debate on our estranged relationship with products in a globalized world.

While Rayfish was struggling finding 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.


The project was realized in collaboration with Ton Meijdam and Floris Kaayk. Produced by Next Nature Network. Supported by Dutch Film Fund, Media Fund, Mondrian Fund and Doen Foundation.