Semester Project Pitch: 聆聽靈聽 / Listening, Listening

For the semester project, I wish to explore the idea of listening. Listening is a form of communication that we often forget. We even lose this ability to listen to the people around us, because we are too busy forming our opinions about them or the topic we want to say. We are too engrossed in thinking about what to say next, and forget that the meaning of “communication”.

I think listening is a skill that requires lots of patience. We are often too quick to judge and form an opinion about the people around us without a proper understanding of their circumstance.

I would like to merge the idea of the puppets and the eavesdropping idea for this project. I realised that the only time we listen without talking is when we are listening to other people’s conversations. Hence, I want to further develop this idea. I feel that this fits with the idea of puppetry because a puppet show do not necessary communicate in a language we understand. It is through their bodily actions that explains the storyline. We are also less likely to judge a puppet because it is a shapeless, formless, characterless figure.

In Chinese, the phrase “listen” can be written in two ways – 聆聽 and 靈聽. With the latter, the word 靈 means “spirit”. My interpretation of this term is to listen with your “soul” and not your “head”.

The interactive space will consist of 12 different barrels and some puppets. In eight of them, people can trigger recordings of conversations via a proximate sensor and listen through the hole in the barrel. The other four barrels will consist of ambient sounds.

How the barrels look like
Proposed space

Metaphor of the “Tree”
These barrels will be covered in brown paper and decorated to look like a tree. Trees symbolise life and immortality. I always felt that trees have the most stories to tell, having the ability to live through many centuries. In this case, the tree produces stories it has eavesdropped over time.

Metaphor of the “Puppet”
Faceless puppets will also hang around the tree to represent the characters or people in the recorded conversations.

I am currently thinking of a proximate sensor and the possible places where this can be staged.

Things to work on:
– Sensor
– Site location (power plugs, size of space in relation to barrels)


Author: Xin Feng

Chasing imperfection.

Leave a Reply