I live such a life

"I Live Such a Life" is an interactive art installation
that translates emotional voicemail stories to craft
distinctive music pieces capturing the essence of
conveyed emotions. The installation perceives the
human body as a uniquely individual instrument,
playable through the way we talk, recognizing emotions
as a universal language beyond our spoken ones.

This piece creates individual Max/MSP instruments
for each of the eight basic emotions, as classified
by Plutchik's emotion wheel. With which, It translates
and exclusively preserves the emotional essence of
the stories into musical compositions. It is a poetic
data mapping of human emotions and a shared safe
garden for our inner landscapes.

The piece is created because

—besides the ocean of great man in history, there are
rivers of everyone/everyone has his own river (Yang Benfen)


—our emotions will not become insignificant because
there is greater pain or happiness in the world.
Everything we feel is real and significant to
ourselves(Long Yingtai)


—no matter how, we all are connected.

“I live such a life” is an ever-growing piece,
maybe someday it will become a forest.


I wish it to be sincere and beautiful.

「Our body as the instrument」

"I Live Such a Life" explores the idea that our bodies are instruments that produce a unique and complex range of sounds. We communicate not only through the content of our speech but also through the volume, pitch, duration, timbre, and pauses that shape our communication. These factors also play a crucial role in conveying our emotions, which are central to the installation's concept.

To capture the essence of emotions conveyed through voicemail stories, the installation uses Max/MSP to analyze the collected audio data. By converting the volume, pitch, and duration of the narrator's voice into musical notes, the installation creates an abstract score that preserves the original pauses and duration.

The timbres of the instruments are designed based on the emotions in the story's content. To guide the creation of the instruments, the installation draws on Plutchik's Emotion Roulette, which identifies eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. These emotions are organized in pairs of opposites, with joy representing a desire to connect and sadness indicating a desire to withdraw. Fear represents shrinking, while anger represents expansion. Trust connotes a desire to approach, while surprise triggers a reaction to jump away. Disgust leads to rejection, and trust indicates acceptance. Based on which, the installation creates unique Max/MSP instruments for each of these eight basic emotions, each with a distinct timbre. For example, the instrument representing fear would have a trembling timbre, while the one for trust would have a mellow tone. These instruments are brought together to form a symphony that accompanies the emotional voicemail stories. Additionally, specific sound effects, such as a sigh or the sound of footsteps, are triggered when the narrator pauses or reaches maximum volume a certain number of times. The resulting music pieces are deeply personal and universally relatable, inviting visitors to embark on a musical journey that explores the complex range of human emotions.

For the first time, I miss my mom so much

Then memory will turn into faith

Feeling alive again

We share the same soul when holding hands

Floating in the air

I went to cinema alone when I am sad /
Four movies in nine days


Like I would become him in 10 years

The vast lake

The crying door

I have been feeling stuck this past 6 month

We set off at 1 am for the sunrise

「It should have a soft and tender texture」

The installation takes inspiration from the complex network of tree roots that connect the natural world, symbolizing the interconnectedness of human emotions and experiences. The voice stories flow through the roots, like a slow and steady stream, as if they are whispering from the depths of the roots. The audience is invited into this intimate and immersive underground space, where they can experience the stories and emotions in a unique and personal way.

The top of the root structure features a wool felt sculpture, which slowly evolves into different shapes and forms at the end of each root. The materials are carefully selected to create a tactile sensation, allowing the audience to connect with the installation through touch. For example, "the crying door" feels like rough and fragile sawdust, while "the vast lake" is made out of elegant gauze. "I went to cinema alone when I am sad / Four movies in nine days" features a semi-open cocoon made out of cotton thread, inviting the audience to explore and discover the story within.

The roots' structure is intentionally designed to be pliable and flexible, enabling the audience to grasp and hear each unique story. Every root has its own whispering cycle, and as the light illuminates, the harmonious melodies begin to fill the space. The combined effect creates an ever-evolving, immersive, and multi-sensory encounter, allowing the audience to delve deeper into each story, to actively listen and embrace the strength of communal storytelling, and to feel empathy beyond language.