An Otaku with Chinese Characteristics?

Localizing Japanese ACG Currents in Lu Yang's The Beast

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Fred Shan Doctoral Research Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, UK

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Abstract

Existing studies on Lu Yang have largely sidelined his engagement with Japanese anime, comics, and gaming (ACG) culture, despite the artist having frequently reiterated the significance of ACG to his upbringing and practice. Nor have they extensively explored what, if anything, is particularly Chinese about Lu's work. This article argues that it is precisely Lu's appropriation of ACG's visual aesthetic and symbolic language that firmly positions the artist within twenty-first century Chinese youth culture. Focusing on The Beast (2012)—Lu's tribute to the cult classic anime Neon Genesis Evangelion—I adopt an interdisciplinary approach synthesizing otaku research, fandom studies, Chinese socio-economic analyses and institutional critique to contextualize Lu's practice within the socio-historical nexus of Sino–Japanese transcultural exchange and the global network of contemporary art.

Contributor Notes

Fred Shan is a CHASE AHRC doctoral research candidate at The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. His research examines the impact of global ludic culture on the production and consumption of contemporary art in China, focusing on the generations of artists born after 1976. He holds an MA from The Courtauld Institute and a BA from Trinity College, University of Oxford. Fred is also Co-Founder of CHASE Digital Methods Network and Editor-in-Chief of Immediations.

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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