The Great Adventure of Material World


Lu Yang, The Great Adventure of Material World, 2019
Lu Yang, The Great Adventure of Material World, 2019. Credit: Andrew Curtis


The Great Adventure of Material World is Lu Yang’s most ambitious computer game-based work to date, for which the audience are invited to interact and play the character of the Material World Knight. As players, we follow what at first appears to be a typical role-playing computer game format: with a narrative of completing ‘quests’, battling (or avoiding) enemies, and achieving ‘victory’ by way of growing in power and ability over the course of the ten stages. However, as is characteristic of Lu’s work, we soon learn that this storyline is provocatively tongue-in-cheek.

This game is ultimately constructed in antithesis to the medium’s popular ‘escapist' promise. While Lu’s aesthetic draws playfully from popular culture – from the Japanese anime and games arcades of her childhood, to the current commerce machines of pop music and ComiCon – her conceptual concerns are rooted at the intersection of a Buddhist upbringing and her contemporary scientific and philosophical research. In stage one of the game, Lu sets a scene in which the Knight encounters the character of Uterus Man, the androgynous star of an earlier game by Lu, who delivers – in the space where we would usually receive instruction or fantastical description – the artist’s musing that: ‘[w]e create various ideologies, mental states, and social systems in order to rationalise and justify the Material World’.

Wallpaper generously supported by Colour Factory, Melbourne. ACCA also acknowledges the advice of Mathew Spisbah, curator of AsiaTOPA’s Sinofuturists live performance program.

— Source: Feedback Loops exhibition catalogue, by Miriam Kelly

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