Reading Room: Sounding Identity Through a Virtual Installation Experience

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


This paper will mainly examine the artistic, cultural, institutional, national, disciplinary, political embodied and sensory identities and agencies that are constructed through engagement with music and sonic art practices, and how technologies mediate the construction of sounding identities.David Toop (2005, p.42), stated that “sounds are woven with memory. For this reason, they may need to be undone as memories become an anchor, dragging in the mud of personal history and accumulated nostalgia”. Completed recently, this virtual sound art installation project Reading Room, examines my memory as a young Chinese student in high school where students were required to read out literature aloud to memorise the text for the purpose of passing examination while teachers would be circulating around the classroom, consisting of more than sixty students reading at the same time, to check if anyone was not reading or “being lazy”. Because it very often happened in the very early morning (6am), some students would fall asleep or be daydreaming; therefore, the hyper-reality of the noisy classroom is contrasted with the blurred and morphing vocals suggesting the daydream, which is similar to the way Barry Truax described his work as “connecting the inner and outer worlds of perception” (Truax, 2018). In doing so, this sound art project reinterprets the stereotype and of Chinese students as “always studying”. It further questions the significance of “学” (study) in Confucian philosophy, and the use of technology brings up questions about how knowledge and information are consumed in this post-digital age.
Period23 Sept 2022
Event titleMusic and Sonic Art 2022: Sounding Identities
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Sound Art
  • Experimental Music
  • Chinese Culture
  • Confucianism
  • Digitality
  • Virtual Installation
  • Video Game