You are What You Hear



Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. ”


Music does the speaking for us. Indeed, think about when you are addicted to plug the earphones into your ears, rather preferring hearing someone else’s voice than yours. We remain skeptical on things we see, but we tend to believe what we hear. Voice then becomes the key of a successful delivery. Just like what prof. Jamie said, you do not need to make pleasant voice in order to entertain people. You can entertain your audience when make them uneasy and uncomfortable. And a good story is not just processed by telling. A successful storytelling is a form of art that requires intricate designs on times, tones, paces, structure, and certain visual aids. That’s what I saw in “Fragments of Machine” and in “Salton Sea.”


When the machines dominate the world and the presence of nature becomes intruding and bizarre, there is a problem. We as human beings tend to create a machine-dominate world to prevent us from the inconvenience that nature might bring to us. Yet when we construct and live in wire jungle we start to threaten the nature that nurtured us. In “Fragments of Machine,” humans are not main characters. The main characters are the machines that never speak. We rarely notice their voice, but when there is no other voice but the sound of these machines operating, a supposed-quite environment suddenly was suddenly filled with endless electronic noises. These tremendous amounts of wires are hiding under the ground and become vital and central to our world.

No need to mention the author’s use of POV (point of view), from bottom down and smooth when it’s moving. We can even wonder from whose perspectives is the screen has been seen. It’s not from a normal human perspective for sure. Then who is the audience and what’s the purpose of this video?


Questions and confusions rise when we are watching the video. Yet Salton Sea is much clearer. We often ignore the environmental disasters we as human being created for nature. And “Salton Sea” uses the combination of different voices, background music, and structure to construct a phenomenon that is impressive and effective on us. The seemingly individual video fragments are connected into a way that makes the film meaningful. Different voices, attitudes, tones, and paces are aall pointing about into the same subject: the Salton Sea.

The music mix that they made, a

Inspired by the videos, I will need to seriously think about how to construct my sound projects in order to delivery my ecology problem. Even though I am taking photos about the Street Vendors, my theme still remains on immigration. Cultural Fantasy and Memories are the imaged world and affect Chinese immigrants construct in this area. These people changed the environment around them into ones that they are used to it with few of the only things they carried overseas – memories. I can resonate with them because we share part of the memories: the fruits and vegetables my family cooks in home, the pineapple bun and the egg tarts, the music played in the park and even people’s languages…

The art of storytelling is all about tell people the stories in a way that they care and want to continue hearing. What people care is the things that’s relevant to themselves.


~ by Lillian ZW Liao on October 23, 2016.

One Response to “You are What You Hear”

  1. Lillian, you’re getting the first ever Audible Excellence Award for this wonderful entry connecting the connects the powerful sense of listening and the art of music to the larger affective construction of “Fragments on Machines” and “Salton Sea” with your examination of Chinese immigration in New York. I love that there is a particular focus to non-visual senses because you connect it to the idea that many things had to be left behind during immigration, with only the memory remaining. Nostalgia is a doozy of an affect, but your visual manipulation, along with your ideas for sound, will create a moving ecology. Great job! – Nolan

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