Photographs from the series The second dimension were taken in various cities all around China (Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Luoyang, Jinan and Kunming) to document a widespread phenomenon among the young generations’ subculture: Cosplay festivals. The work does not focus on the content of the stories these young people have to narrate or on the reasons behind the birth of this expressive medium, it is in fact concerned about the slight border between fictional and real, and the psychedelic dimension where they are reunited.
Cosplay festivals derive their shapes and images from the characters of web video games. Nowadays, as long as we take in account the field where the mainstream youth popular culture develops, we are forced to talk about the second dimension of internet networking; in Cosplay festivals, we’re able to visualize how virtual images are transported to reality and finally become an incarnation of the effects of continuous industrial and economic expansion in contemporary china.
The photographic medium well accepts the challenge to represent the concept of virtual characters transported inside reality and the idea of unreal images becoming concrete and touchable. In a universe where society doesn’t still fully accept the presence of transvestite, homosexual, and bisexual people, who don’t always find the chance to express themselves in the official dimension of reality, an escape has to be found inside a second dimension. Cosplay festivals take place in their own space: they create room for freeing creativity and rebellion, originating a cultural phenomenon that satisfies the self’s need to be shown in the public space and to be accepted by the society.
Peng Xiangjie a documentary photographer. He explores non-mainstream phenomena associated with subcultures within China. The deep sense of dignity that these shots exude enthrals viewers. Cosplay explores Chinese Manga festivals.
Xiangjie has been working with photography since 1991. His work has been presented in prestigious festivals and galleries including, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Visa pour l’image: International Festival of Photojournalism, Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) – Victoria, and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre–Beijing.
His work has been published in notable magazines such as Chinese Photography, Popular Photography, FOCUS, National Geographic, and Marie Claire.
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