In September 2019, Ant Forest, a mini app embedded in China’s largest online payment software Alipay, was awarded the 2019 Champions of the Earth. Launched in 2016, it has motivated half a billion users to digitally and collectively combat desertification by planting 122 million trees which cover over an area of 112,000 hectares and avoid 7.9 million tons of carbon emission. As users accumulate virtual points by adopting a low-carbon lifestyle, such as taking buses, walking, paying bills online, reselling and exchanging used items, their virtual points can be converted to different species of real trees planted in Mu Us Desert, Kubuqi Desert, Taklamakan Desert, and some of China’s most arid regions by Ant Forest and its NGO partners.
I created a scroll of abstract dots and shades, corresponding to the real data of combating desertification effort in my home country China. The clustering brushstrokes are extracted from the remote sensing data processed from Earth Explorer and calculated as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) which shows a vibrant land cover change in those desertified regions. Transforming the geographic information data into the dots and shades of the sweeping greenness happened during the past three years, I intended to spread the word of our changing climate and environment through this panoramic landscape painting inspired from the One Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains (千里江山图) by the legendary Chinese painter Ximeng Wang (王希孟）during the Song Dynasty.