DEMO31 Jie Yu – 12 tons d’indigo

June 2023

This demo presents the research-creation work of Jie Yu [student member, UQAT]. 12 tons d’indigo is an AR piece, presented to the public on May 5, 2023 at UQAT in the context of Jie’s PhD in digital art, dance and intangible heritage under the supervision of Jean-Ambroise Vesac [co-investigator member, UQAT]. This work focuses on the transmission of Jie’s heritage based on the 12 tones of the Bouyei bronze drum, a pillar of this Indigenous culture of southwest China.

The 12 tons d’indigo project combines somatic dance and digital creation to bear witness to an ancestral heritage, while renewing the conditions for its transmission to future generations. The exhibition is rooted in an intercultural context. It offers a unique opportunity for different audiences to appreciate the Bouyei people’s vision of the world through an experience that can be shared without constraints of time or space.


For the past three years, Jie Yu has been working back and forth between the Bouyei community and the studio, as part of a heritage conservation project. Through digital creation, he makes the foundations of the Bouyei culture accessible and transmissible, while proposing a rereading of a traditional corporal vocabulary through a somatic practice. The project translates the traditional knowledge of Bouyei dance through an experimental process combining dance, motion capture (MoCap), animation (MotionBuilder) and augmented reality (Unity).

The AR work 12 tons d’indigo introduces the public to twelve founding notions of Bouyei culture through sequences danced by a 3D character dressed in traditional Bouyei costume. Each sequence is accompanied by ethnographic information explaining the key concepts of the Bouyei philosophy. As such, viewers gain access to both a conceptual and sensorial experience of this culture.

The 12 tons d’indigo reflect the meanings attached to the intangible nature of this tradition. Such a project postulates that digital creation can contribute to preserving an Indigenous culture by inscribing it in the present, while reaffirming its place in the diversity of world cultures.

In this DEMO, Jie carries out all the stages of the project’s realization, including the making-of, production, workshops, performance and intervention at the opening of the exhibition 12 tons d’indigo, which took place on May 5 at UQAT.

Here’s a glimpse of the vernissage and the workshops that took place as part of the project!


Jie Yu is a versatile artist practicing somatic dance, painting and digital art as part of research-creation projects. A native of the Bouyei nation, he is fervently committed to intercultural exchange.

Prior to his journey to Canada, Jie ventured into his inner world, forging unfailing links with dance, painting, traditional arts and language arts. He gradually sketches out his artistic journey and visualizes his professional aspirations, bearing witness to his spiritual journey to date.

For the past 8 years, Jie has made Quebec his home, where he discovers intercultural diversity through his creative and educational experiences. He finds ever new ways of sharing ethnographic heritages through his paintings, dance and digital art. By exploring human singularity, Jie expresses a philosophy enriched by a striking diversity in Quebec.

Passionate about building spiritual bridges between Eastern and Western communities, Jie also devotes his time to higher education to further multicultural exchanges and the transmission of the world’s cultural heritage.

Cette publication est également disponible en : Français (French)