‘Doku: Digital Alaya’ Appears in First NY Gallery Exhibit

Installation view of Doku: Digital Alaya. Photograph by Arturo Sanchez, 2021.

New York’s first gallery exhibition of “Doku: Digital Alaya” by Shanghai-based artist Lu Yang opened to visitors on May 7, 2021. The exhibit is taking place at the Jane Lombard Gallery.

According to a statement from the gallery, “Doku: Digital Alaya” features a unique combination of ancient Buddhist reincarnation philosophies with motion capture and live animation technology.

In this exhibition, “Doku” is a nonbinary avatar whose name is a tribute to the phrase “Dokusho Dokushi.” This saying means, “We are born alone, and we die alone.”

The second part of the title, “Digital Alaya,” refers to the Buddhist term “ālayavijñāna.” This saying describes the “storehouse of consciousness” that acts as the basis of all human development, “mental, spiritual, and physical.”

The exhibition shows Doku in six different three-dimensional environments. Each one represents one of the six Buddhist realms of rebirth and reincarnation.

Lu Yang, Asura, 2021, Aluminum, LED lights, backlit fabric, 39 x 55 in. Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery
Lu Yang, Animal, 2021, Aluminum, LED lights, backlit fabric, 39 x 55 in. Courtesy of Jane Lombard Gallery

“Doku: Digital Alaya” explores the impact of the digital focus on our lives today. It also questions whether or not it has distracted society from ancient religious and spiritual principles, including various aspects of the Buddhist philosophy.

Lu Yang, who studied under Zhang Peili (also known as the “godfather of Chinese video art”) at the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou, worked with a group of scientists and technicians to come up with different ways to keep the cycle of life going in a digital world. This team helped her utilize motion capture technology so that Doku could be reborn again and again.

The exhibition runs through June 19. The gallery is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Friday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday.

The gallery currently accepts walk-ins during business hours, and masks are required during the duration of the visit. Guests must also sign in and provide an email address to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.