Not Here, Not There

#Installation & Moving Image
Year: 2023

Not Here, Not There is a contemplative sound installation that explores the ontological dimension of immersion, drawing inspiration from Roland Barthes’s notion of  “two bodies” in his essay Leaving the Movie Theatre. Roland describes the first body as a narcissistic entity that becomes absorbed in the immersive medium, while the second one fetishizes its surroundings. In this sonic experience, the audience is invited to encounter and immerse themselves in their “sonic self” and all its sonic affordances; Through a series of interactions, they will be led on a journey across the boundary between the two bodies, ultimately engaging in an introspective conversation with themselves.

Etymologically, immersion describes a deep mental involvement. However, with the advancement of digital technology and its corresponding jargon, people’s perception of immersion seems to have fixated on the ways in which digitality, particularly on a grander scale, moulds immersion rather than one’s actual feeling within that given environment. In the vein of Roland’s deconstruction of the immersive experience in cinema, this project seeks to dismantle this newly formed associations of digitalisation and immersiveness, and engage the audience in a discussion about the essential constituents of immersion.

This work comprises a spatial composition that emerges from an interplay between the audience, the stage light, the shadow, and the mono sound system. The soundscape and lighting are intricately intertwined with the intuitive movements of each individual in the space, creating a sonification of their presence. The constant visual feedback of the shadow stimulates a dialogic engagement with the self, empowering the audience to play an active role in shaping their experience. In this way, the work encourages an embodied exploration of the interconnection between the audience and the space, foregrounding the role of the individual in shaping this immersive encounter.
“Not Here, Not There”是一个沉思性的声音装置,旨在从本体论层面探索沉浸式体验,灵感来源于罗兰-巴特在他文章《离开电影院》中提出的 "两个身体 "的概念。罗兰将第一个身体描述为自恋的,它迷失在沉浸式媒介中;第二个身体则感知到其周围的环境。在该作品中,观众被邀请接触并沉浸在他们的 “声音自我”及其带来的声音互动中;通过这些互动,他们将探索“两个身体”的边界,带来一个沉思自省的体验。



- Installation -

Photo credit: Qiaohao Chen

2023, Not Here, Not There
Mono Sound, Stage Light, LED Spotlight, Kinect Sensor, Audio Recorder, Infinite Duration

- Moving Image -

Photo credit: Sunghoon Song

2023, Not Here, Not There
Moving Image, Stereo Sound, 3:33

Complementing the installation, the experimental moving image work serves as a poetic response, further exploring the nature of selfness in immersion. The protagonist endeavours to unravel the essence of immersion and its interconnectedness with the self. We hear the sound of the wind as the rustling leaves sway on the branches, and we see the shape of the wind as the trees dance. How do we perceive immersion through the vessel of self?


- Book -

Photo credit: Xiaoru Wang

2023, Not Here, Not There
Recycled Paper, Thread, 109 pages

As the project’s theoretical foundation, the book is divided into two parts. Influenced by Roland Barthes’s introspective exploration on photographs in his book Camera Lucida, the first half is a collection of my reflective writings on daily moments that I consider immersive. These include poems, diaries and essays. The second part features my MA dissertation, which offers a broader discussion on immersion in an academic yet accessible writing style.

作为项目的理论基础,该书分为两部分。受罗兰-巴特在《Camera Lucida》一书中对照片的内省探索的影响,前半部分是我对日常中一些我自认为是“沉浸式”时刻的反思性写作,包括诗歌、日记和散文。第二部分是我的硕士论文,它以一种学术性的但易于理解的写作风格提供了对沉浸更广泛的讨论。

Concept & Installation & Sound: Bryan Yueshen Wu
Sound mixing engineer: Aijia Wang
Graphic design (book): Xiaoying Su
Film: Sunghoon Song
Project advisor: Dr. David Meckin
Project developed at: Royal College of Art White City
Special thanks: Ke Peng, Qiaohao Chen, Mingyue Ma, Xiaoru Wang, Jiang Zhu