Lu Yang’s BMW Art Journey ‘Human Machine Reverse Motion Capture Project’ is concerned with how the human body can be trained to overcome its physical limitations. Her research will explore the deployment of the human body in historical and present-day cultures, looking at traditional and contemporary dances practiced in Indonesia, India, and Japan. Steeped in the latest digital technologies, Lu Yang will employ sophisticated motion capture devices to record the dancers’ gestures, including facial, finger- and eyecapture techniques that can collect and analyze the subtlest body movements, and will mimic these using robotic technologies.
In Legong, a traditional Balinese dance, for example, movement is controlled to such a degree that dancers are able to manipulate their finger joints individually. The facial and eye movements of India’s Kathakali dancers resemble the workings of sensors and motors in advanced humanoid robots. A similar robotic precision is expressed in Japanese pop dances. Thus, Lu Yang’s BMW Art Journey links traditional and modern cultural forms to radically transformative contemporary technologies. In a larger sense, it will look into how we negotiate our evolving relationship with machines that may ultimately surpass our human limitations.
‘Thank you for giving me the opportunity to start a project that I’ve always wanted to do. The BMW Art Journey gives a great starting point for long-term research projects. This is not just an art journey. It will be a wonderful start for me to open a new chapter of my creation. I am very much looking forward to this future collaboration and the art-making after this journey. I would also like to thank the gallery Société in Berlin for fully supporting me’, says Lu Yang.
The international jury consisted of Claire Hsu, Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, Director, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing; and Samson Young, artist and winner of the first BMW Art Journey.
‘What we found exciting about Lu Yang’s proposal and work,’ the jury noted in its statement, ‘is the way she draws connections across time, space, and geography – traversing different realms – from Kathakali and Legong dance to Japanese pop with our potential future robotic selves. She demonstrates that humanity’s search for an answer to why we are here is continuous – it just takes different forms.’ The proposed BMW Art Journey evokes urgent dilemmas in today’s society, the jury noted. ‘We appreciated the idea that the vocabulary within the database used for robotic human expressions would be expanded to include the expressions found in multiple traditions – a much needed expansion of reference points in today’s world.’
Lu Yang was announced as the next BMW Art Journey winner at the BMW Cocktail Reception during Art Basel in Basel. Art Basel and BMW will collaborate with the artist to document the journey and share it with a broader public through print publications, online and social media.
In addition to Lu Yang, the shortlisted artists from the Discoveries sector for emerging artists at Art Basel in Hong Kong were: Clarissa Tossin (represented by Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles) and Shen Xin (represented by Madeln Gallery, Shanghai).
BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has supported Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong for many years. For further information about the artist and the project, please visit bmw-art-journey.com.