Lu Yang's Cancer Baby

Coercions of the Image

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Jennifer Dorothy LeeThe School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

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Abstract

Centering a genealogy of the image 形象 (xingxiang) in China, this article opens up the task of interpreting Lu Yang's (b. 1984) works of animation and sound. To make sense of the artist's scientized preoccupations with disease, neuroscience, and biomedical interventions into brain–body interconnections, I argue that scientific uses of technology become an artistic medium for Lu, inhabiting and encoding his work from the 2010s, in particular Cancer Baby (2014). Framing the digital animation of this piece amid the fraught intellectual history of the image—a concept that carries generations, even millennia, of debate in China—the article offers a set of clues, if not a window direct, to opening up the dynamics of consciousness, materiality, and control in the artist's creative method.

Contributor Notes

Jennifer Dorothy Lee is assistant professor of art history, theory and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her PhD in East Asian studies from New York University, her MA in comparative literature from SOAS, and her BA in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Her first book project, now under contract with the University of California Press, explores the residues of Maoism and the socialist aesthetic in China's revolutionary aftermath of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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