DOKU: Digital Reincarnation
Every night in December, artist LuYang takes over Times Square with a post-human dance party. LuYang’s elaborately outfitted and eerily lifelike avatars in DOKU: Digital Reincarnation are born out of the artist’s distinct and ongoing scientific and philosophical inquiries — an interdisciplinary blend of Buddhism, neuroscience, psychology and modern technology.
The shape-shifting protagonist in this five-channel work is DOKU; the name is derived from the phrase “Dokusho Dokushi,” which translates to “We are born alone, and we die alone,” and references a canonical Buddhist scripture. While sharing LuYang’s facial expressions and features, the nonbinary character was generated from an amalgamation of various dancers and musicians, and created in collaboration with a team of scientists, 3D animators, and digital technicians using the latest in motion capture technology. Through this repeated incarnation, the artist is reborn as an ever-present avatar, endowed with talents surpassing physical limitations — uniting ancient concepts such as reincarnation with the latest technological innovations.
Support for December’s Midnight Moment was generously provided by Meta Open Arts.
LuYang is a Shanghai-based artist who creates work exploring themes and formats, inspired by both traditional Chinese medicine and contemporary digital cultures. Through the medium of video, installation and performance, LuYang explores the fluidity of gender representation through 3D animated works inspired by Japanese manga and gaming subcultures. With a fascination with the human body and neurology, LuYang’s work bridges the scientific and the technological with aesthetics drawn from popular youth culture creating new visions of China in the face of modernity.
Born in 1986 in Shanghai where they are currently based, LuYang prefers to play with pronouns and insists she “lives on the internet” to further confuse fixed notions of identity. They attended the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou, BFA and MFA, under the tutelage of Zhang Peili, the godfather of Chinese video art. A 2019 winner of the BMW Art Journey award, she has shown internationally including the M Woods Museum in Beijing, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, and in many other shows, including the Asia Society Triennial in New York.
Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Coca-Cola, Disney Store, Diversified, Express, Heritage Outdoor Media, JCDecaux North America, Levi's, LG, Line Friends, McDonald's, Midtown Financial, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, New Tradition, Outfront, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, TSX, and T-Mobile.
Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.