Lu Yang is a Chinese Artist, 1984 born in Shanghai. She graduated in the department of new media art within the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou.
Your latest work “Paralysis Agitans Project” is shown in the solo exhibition KRAFTTREMOR in the Boers-Li gallery in Beijing. You are exhibiting video installations, digital prints, music videos, and documentary materials which deal with the Parkinson disease and its treatment method DBS, deep brain stimulation.
What was the idea behind this work, what interested you in this subject?
In this work , I invite several Parkinson disease people to help me shot the music video , it’s hard to find out this kind of person in china who will let me shoot them even though I’ll pay them , cause it’s kind of cruel to shoot the patient . This work is something connected with my old work – [Happy Tree] and [ Dictator E ] , that works also used the living things . But I’m quite interested in the beating from the living things, it’s not the movement control by animal and human beings mind .
For KRAFTTREMOR , the patient will tremor , they can’t help to stop it , it’s cause of their disease , but their tremor look like always have a frequency , like the computer calculates , but it’s from human machines , this frequency is not that accurate . It’s a strange visual that human beings movements look like a machine .
For Happy Tree and Dictator E, animals in the water move together in the same time by the electricity , they can’t use their mind to control their body .
So I’m very interested in control or loss control , who can’t use their mind to control their selves . Now the science can do something on the living things to control their body. For example , a DBS surgery can through a remote controller , control Parkinson’s disease patient’s tremor, just turn on or turn off the battery , it can even control the patient’s tremor level. So I can use this technology to make a human machine live performance.
In your work you are using scientific methods and aesthetics for an artistic purpose, which are fields who are commonly very separated from each other.
What opportunities give you the experiment in an artistic context, which you wouldn’t have in a scientific one ?
I’m interested in science , cause I’m born in this century of the world, not only the traditional culture effects on me , everything in this age of the world is affecting me . The technology , science is very important in now a day , so I think it’s normal appeared in my artworks . But it’s hard to get into a scientific lab , and it’s hard to be a professional person of science , so I try to know about it by myself , but still hard to practice. That’s why I diagrammed my works , try to find someway to let it be true, I try to achieve one of my diagram works into installation this year .
On the other hand , although my diagram works is based on graphic ,but I can image my works more , cause some of my works is very cruel, it couldn’t be true cause of ethics , but it really works if we do .
What is the difference for you between art and science?
At least , in China , the science always work for people , for some really useful things, but for me , maybe I can use this method to thinking more. More about nowadays .
In your installation Happy Tree (2009) frogs, fish, shrimp, and newts, move as you put the electrical current through their aquarium which is also projected. You said that you will never exhibit this artwork again. Why did you decided to stop exhibiting it?
Cause of the ethics problem . Not only some people blame me use the living things do my works , but also I feel guilty …
Dictator (2009) is a music video on which you worked together with Wang Changcun. It is the continuation of happy tree. but this time instead of an electric current, the animals dance to the sound of Wang Changcun. How did you finish Happy Tree, with this work? What was left uncompleted in Happy Tree?
Different animals such as fish, newts, shrimp and frogs were classified according to their species and put into several glass containers, these animals are all aquatic, I use electric currents of certain frequency to stimulate their movement underwater, as a result they would move according to the rhythm of the frequency altogether.This outer force (electric current) unified the movement and rhythm of animals in different space.12 lines of electric signals were operated in this installation, 11 of them were sent in different of containers, the left line output the signals into a sound amplifier which may finally output the sound signals synchronized with the movement of animals.
Cause of some ethics problems , I can’t show the Happy Tree installation again , cause I use the living animals show in the space for several weeks . So I should find another way to replace Happy Tree , then I done the Dictator E . But Dictator E looks quite different from Happy Tree, although I use the same method to shot the videos , but it’s a MTV, and I make lots effects on it , it looks fashionable , colorful , funny , but there are something serious behind this colorful music video , it’s not that directly. Dictator E is the upgrade version of Happy Tree, but they can be separate works !
Your work seems to be very conceptual, but on the other hand you do experiments to be sure that they could actually work. What is your purpose when you just exhibit the graphics and not the recording of, or your experiments?
I do put some experiments recording beside my graphics or some reference material videos. These prove my works could be achieve. Obviously , my works in some way is quite cruel , horror, abnormal , etc. and cause of some ethics problem . In someway ,the aim is not just to let everything come true , it makes people reflection from these works , makes people thinking .
Your prints have the aesthetics of instruction manual, it looks like you calling people to follow them, what are your thought behind this style?
Of cause people won’t follow my instructions , cause so many things inside my works is too much cruel, abnormal ,violent , I just wanna use this kind of style , rational style to cover these abnormal things which inside my works. Otherwise , this kind of method will lead people into a more strongly abnormal world , cause it looks rational and normal, but the inside idea is totally converse.
You studied seven years new media in the China Academy of Fine Arts, but never any scientific subjects. All your medical and biological knowledge you learned by yourself.
Would you consider the learning process as an important part of your artistic work?
Cause I love these medical and biological things , so it’s very normal for me , just another interest . I love to do it , we receive lots different kind of culture every day, I just receive what I need , very enjoy it , I think ‘study’ is not meaning very ‘joy’ . Haha .So of cause it’s very important for me to study , but not just ‘study’.
What are you currently working on?
Now I’m preparing my new works , it’s also a project including several different works, the main idea is about religion and science. I think it’s a totally new idea different from my old works , just wait and see!