Interview with Lu Lyu

Sail East to find Lemnos!

written by Kaylee

1. How did your journey from Interactive Telecommunications and roles as a
Senior Creative Technologist inspire your transition into the world of art? Can
you share a bit about the personal journey or experiences that led to your
decision to explore art more deeply, especially considering your earlier roles
involving interactive technologies?

The Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU Tisch is a place that
encourages creativity, where students from diverse backgrounds such as physics,
biology, chemistry, art, and design converge to explore different possibilities. Before
joining ITP, I worked at a new media art company and have a strong interest in the
intersection of art and technology. At ITP, I've been fortunate to encounter Daniel
Rozin. Daniel's renowned works have been seen worldwide. In his digital fabrication
class, he shares his journey as a creator, and his words resonate with me, especially
when he talks about witnessing a work being perfected yet losing many possibilities
in the process. His words echo in my mind every time I create something. The
collaborative spirit and artistic drive I see in him and the ITP community inspires me
to explore my own art journey.

2. As a Senior Creative Technologist at Deeplocal, how do you bring your
expertise in interactive experiences into your artistic practice? How has your
work in developing interactive technologies influenced your approach to
creating art that engages audiences in a different way?

In Deeplocal, I've been involved in projects with larger scales both in terms of size
and content. This has given me the opportunity to witness the full industry-level
process of interactive installations, from conceptualization and design to packaging,
shipping, and on-site installation details. For example, I gained experience from my
co-workers in handling aspects like packaging, delivery, and regerminating circuits for
my own projects.

In my role as a creative technologist, I practice my skills for computer graphics and
creative engineering. For the tree ring project with Google, I had to write a shader for
the tree rings. Interestingly, I had previously experimented with generating tree rings
using code in my 3-day personal projects. However, this Google Tree Ring project
demands a higher level of interaction, thus it adds more complexity to creative
coding, such as real-time generation of blisters on the tree rings upon participant’s
touch. This is a project that pushes me to enhance my shader skills significantly.

I designed a program that transforms a wall into a giant touchpad. By integrating a
LiDAR sensor on its surface, the wall becomes click-responsive to human touch. I
envision applying these technologies if the need arises for larger-scale installations in
the future.

I've had the opportunity to collaborate with excellent colleagues, such as Heidi He.
Together, we worked on "the Breathing Wall" project, which is showcased in the
current exhibition.
the Breathing Walls

3. Could you share a pivotal moment or experience from your educational journey
that significantly shaped your approach to your career, and how did your post-
doctoral Research Residency at NYU and other artistic residencies further
enrich your understanding of the intersection between art and technology?

During my postdoctoral research residency at New York University, I started the
Kinetic Sculpture Club. It became a platform not only to share my passion for kinetic
sculpture and knowledge, but also to educate other people about how to build kinetic
parts with 10+ weekly workshops. Engaging in a project that involved both research
and facilitating workshops allowed me to impart my understanding of the intersection
of art and technology to students.

4. Having lived and worked in both Pittsburgh and New York, how have these
diverse environments influenced your artistic vision and cultural exploration?

I studied and worked in New York from 2019 to 2022. Upon arriving in New York city,
I was captivated by the abundance of art exhibitions and events at every corner. I
tried to spend all my weekends in galleries. Exhibitions like Lisson Gallery's "Wael
Shawky: The Gulf Project Camp" captivated me with its storytelling. The clock
exhibition “Making Marvels'' at the Metropolitan Museum showcased intricate
mechanics and automatas in Europe. It inspired me to incorporate mechanisms into
art. New York city's diversity and ever-changing art scene sparked my creativity. In
2022, I started to work in Pittsburgh. In contrast, Pittsburgh is much quieter. I start to
be more focused on my inner power, and this is when I start to make my kinetic work
into a series. Engaging with skilled woodworkers and participating in the Hack
Pittsburgh project, I learned a range of woodworking techniques. The tranquility of
Pittsburgh allowed me to delve into woodworking and rock climbing, offering
opportunities for pursuing craftsmanship and art creativity. New York pulsated with
possibility, a kaleidoscope of experiences on a grand stage. Pittsburgh became a
quiet sanctuary, a stage for introspection and inner exploration.

5. Your artwork often involves wood, motors, and microcontrollers. How do these
materials and technologies contribute to the harmony you seek in the interplay
of geometric deformation and sculptural lines?

My artistic works often involve wood, motors, and microcontrollers. I seek harmony in
the interaction of geometric deformations and sculpted curves. I always start with a
single idea. If the artwork is considered a riddle, this idea serves as the answer. All

chosen materials are intended to serve a moment of motion. I was inspired by the
artist Arthur Ganson. In his work, Cory’s Yellow Chair, six split parts suddenly
traverse different trajectories in the air, culminating in a loud sound as they combine
into a chair. His emphasis on time is akin to the essence driving my pieces – the
"now" moment, much like the clap at the beginning of a Buddhist dharma talk
signaling the present moment. My works aim to capture such moments, creating
harmony through the intricate interaction of wood, motors, and microcontrollers,
guiding the audience towards the immediacy of the present in the art.
“Fold Qingguo Alley” exhibited in LMCC

6. The exhibition "Sail East to find Lemnos!" has a captivating title. Could you
explain the concept behind the title and how it relates to the overall theme of
the exhibition? What inspired you to explore the kinetic and cultural
landscapes in this particular body of work?

The title envisions an island of women, where femininity, machinery, softness, and
hardness coexist. Lemnos Island exists in real life, but I refer to its mythological story.
In Greek mythology, there is an island of women called Lemnos. According to legend,
the women on the island were abandoned by their husbands. In retaliation, the
women of Lemnos killed all the men on the island. Pliny the Elder mentioned in his
"Natural History" that Lemnos Island had an extraordinary labyrinth, but it remains
undiscovered in modern times.

As a female creator, I am intrigued by the imagery of a female nation on an island.
However, I am not a fan of the story of a beautiful woman becoming a symbol of lust.
I aim to redefine this female island in the sea. New York happens to be a harbor city,
reminiscent of classic stories like Moby Dick, which began with Herman Melville's
whaling voyage. The famous South Street Seaport is not far from :iidrr gallery. So, I
imagined embarking on a journey from the gallery, heading towards the rumored
East, to find this island of daughters.

the island of Lemnos

7. The exhibition explores themes of heritage, ancient femininity, and personal
relationships. How do you incorporate these themes into your artworks, and
what information or emotions do you hope viewers will gain from them?

Ancient femininity represents the gentler, seemingly unassuming women of the past,
who, regardless of intensity, all have moments of female awakening. I aim to capture
these seemingly traditional, gentle moments of female awakening through sculpture.
My interest in Nüshu (女书) arises from the belief that it captures the collective
subconsciousness of these women. The origin of this exploration stemmed from a
dream where I saw the other lu in the distance. That other me is suddenly unable to
suppress something. The skin on my chest slowly began to protrude, taking on
angular shapes until it transformed into a series of flying eaves.

womeness in motion

Through sculpture, I continuously allow these women to reclaim their relationship with
their bodies and space. In ancient times, unmarried women lived in high chambers
and couldn't descend to meet people, essentially being confined within a room.
However, I believe their presence surpasses the confines of this physical space.
Using the curved surfaces in these sculptures, I aim to empower them to reclaim
entire houses, entire groups of buildings, and entire islands, using their bodies as a


8. Your work delves into the heritage of your homeland. How do you navigate the
representation of cultural elements in your art, and what role do they play in
conveying your personal narrative? Are there specific cultural references or
stories that hold special significance for you in the context of this exhibition?

My artworks delve into the traditional culture of my homeland, incorporating cultural
elements through scene selection and symbol usage, creating an artistic context rich
in cultural significance and personal narrative. In this exhibition, specific cultural
references hold special meaning for me. Qingguo Alley, an ancient alley in
Changzhou, Jiangsu, represents emotional memories, while the Nüshu (女书) script
from Jiangyong, Hunan, symbolizes ancient cultural traditions and the power of
women. The piece "The Garden of Forking Path" echoes Borges' book, emphasizing
the intertextuality between literature and art. In "Breathing Walls," the maze draws
inspiration from ancient legends and the symbolic meaning of mazes in culture,
infusing the work with mystery and significance. These cultural elements creates an
art experience resonant with emotions and cultural connections for the audience.

The Garden of Forking Path

9. You have been involved in prestigious residencies in New York and at
Shanghai Sen Rong. How have these experiences influenced your artistic
practice, and do you find collaborations and residencies essential to your
creative process? Are there specific insights or lessons from your
collaborations that have left a lasting impact on your approach to art?

My residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and Shanghai Sen
Rong had a profound impact on my artistic practice. At LMCC, having a dedicated
studio space on Governor Island allowed me to interact with fellow resident artists
from diverse stages of their artist career. For example, I met Anna from France, who
inspired me to create a series of sculptures. In Sen Rong, I learned how to build and
repair ancient architecture. Traditional woodworking techniques deepened my
appreciation for wood. I have become fond of the scent of camphor wood. This
experience emphasized the importance of honesty in working with wood and the
need for constant practice to refine my skills. Collaborations and residencies have
become integral to my creative process, driving ongoing exploration, learning, and
growth in my artistic journey.

10. Given your experience as the founder of the Kinetic Sculpture Club, do you see
yourself getting more involved in educational initiatives to inspire the next
generation of artists and technologists?

Absolutely! I would love to be involved in educational endeavors, especially in New
York. As the founder of the Kinetic Sculpture Club, I am keenly aware of the
importance of education, especially in inspiring interest and creativity in the next
generation of artists and technologists. I hope to share my experience and
knowledge to guide students in exploring the intersection of art and technology and to
inspire their creative potential. In teaching, I expect to establish an open learning
environment that encourages students to experiment with new ideas and
technologies and develops their ability to think independently in the creative process.
Through education, I hope to contribute to the growth and development of the next
generation of artists and technologists.

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