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A Twist of Uncomfortableness

Johanna Lou 2017-09-07 14:28

Lu Yang’s creations integrate science, religion, psychology, neurology, game, and pop culture; they have a special focus on the meaning of biology and materialism in a human’s short and fragile life. Though the artworks are presented in ways that are sarcastic and with somewhat “heavy taste”, we don’t experience the emotional aspect of life, rather they allow us to continuously reshape our understanding of the world with an open mind - from a single point of view to multitude viewpoints while putting humans at a very low position. 


 Delusional Crime and Punishment

For instance, in Kraft Tremor, Lu discusses the paradoxical relationship between Parkinson's disease and its treatment. As a central neurodegenerative disease, the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are muscle stiffness, tremor, slowing movements or even loss of mobility. The biggest problem Parkinson disease patients face is movement disorder, they cannot control their own movement at free will. Currently, the most effective treatment for the disease is deep brain electrical stimulation technology (DBS). It is the most mature technology that exists to target treatment for limb tremors of Parkinson’s disease. Lu’s artwork on one hand introduces the disease and its treatment using scientific maps and animation; on the other hand, musical segments are composed based on the tremor frequency samples Lu collected. Through visualization of confrontation, Lu explains the paradox relationship among control, being controlled, losing control, and treatment. Through human body’s sickness and electronic rhymes, Lu puts us in a space full of electronic-stimulated pleasures and moral evils thus reflecting the moral dilemmas. 



Lu’s work often gives people a sense of uncomfortableness without them being aware of why, perhaps that is exactly what we should feel, our traditional view that humans is above all in the world and our view of the complexity and possibilities of being humans are being challenged. 


VANTAGE:How did you become interested in human body, medicine, and psychology? 

Lu Yang:I became interested in these fields when I was a kid. I felt that discussions of these topics could, on a larger scale, break through the barriers set by our backgrounds and nationalities so we can discuss the common issues that everybody face; many people can understand my artworks without any additional conditions except for being a human him or herself. 


Cancer Baby

VANTAGE:Is there a particular artwork, historical event, author, or expert who had a big influence on you? How did you become interested in religion? 

Lu Yang:I love Stanley Milgram and B.F. Skinner. In regards to interest in religion, it started when I was a kid because we had a lot of religious books at home. 

VANTAGE:Do the Buddhas from Wrathful King Kong Core have prototypes? What is the meaning of the religious symbols in your artwork? 

Lu Yang:The prototype is Yamntaka. When the signs of anger stimulate our brain, the message is first delivered to the thalamus, the incoming anger information then activates the amygdala, amygdala in turn processes the information to activate a series of brain structure - they are responsible for turning the nerve signal into angry action expressions. This was a somewhat silly project that combines religious view of anger from a Buddha and the scientific interpretation of human anger and its reflection mechanism.


VANTAGE:Medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and religion are all different ways to understand the world, but they all have biases. Some are hard to explain logically, how do you personally deal with the incorporation of so many different views in your artwork?

Lu Yang:I think it is our instinct to understand some basic problems when living on earth; for instance, how we were born and what happens after we die. All materials and sciences in life help us understand the world. Ultimately which science or religion we choose believe in is up to ourselves, so what I like to do is to get to know every one of them, then through them to discover my areas of focus.


VANTAGE:Do you think the development of science, artificial intelligence (AI) will threaten to human growth? For instance, artificial intelligence and machines might dominate the world one day? 

Lu Yang:I think we should let nature take its course. Humans will always regard ourselves as the centre of the world, and we think technology and AI will bring threats to our lives, but whether it is technology or anything else, humans will still have to face the natural cycle of life and death. No AI or machines will destroy humans, I think humans will still die on their own, we will not live forever.

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