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My work is an installation. it consisting of five independent videos. It contains vision and sound. It is a project about expressing the stream of consciousness. in some ways this is an expression of the steam of consciousness that I have in head.

produced by: Yi Zhou


The visual part of my work is mainly done with MAX/JITTER, I use MAX/JITTER to process the videos I recorded before, and also there is a part of visual that the viewer can interact with it when it shows in a real space. There also have audiovisual images produced by TouchDesigner. About my audio part, I use MAX/MSP to process the samples I recorded and add some music samples to form the sound.

I was inspired by James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses”, this novel is a little hard to read. But I was attracted by the large number of activities in the minds of the characters themselves. So I did some research on the stream of consciousness.

Concept and background research

The stream of consciousness was proposed by the American psychologist William James in the 20th century. James thinks every ‘state’ tends to be part of a personal consciousness; within each personal consciousness states are always changing; each personal consciousness is sensibly continuous; it is interested in some parts of its object to the exclusion of others, and welcomes or rejects — chooses from among them, in a word — all the while.

"Ulysses" is very different from traditional realist novels. Their experience cannot constitute a complete and orderly plot clue, and the occurrence of events has no sequence connection with the development of time, but they have become the external source of the character's consciousness flow one after another, bringing out the continuous flow of the character's stalk. And this kind of conscious activity is completely different from the logical, methodical, and rational-dominated psychological description in traditional novels, but is not restricted by time and space, not restricted by logic, and has great jumping, random and incoherent nature. It is a display of the original state of human consciousness.

I was Influenced by artist Ryoich Kurokawa’s works, some of his works are  combine the graphics which are made by code with photographs or videos, and put visual and   some test music together. so I  decided to combining visual and auditory senses to show my work through installation.

What is needed, is an exploration of how a video installation merges its musical and artistic parts into one work, an exploration that treats image, sound, and space as equally important.


Some of my video are composed of five different videos, these videos were taken by me before. I first used MAX/JITTER to make some basic color and other display parameter adjustments for these videos, then I used a series of patches to covert these videos into moving fast and changing all the time, just like you saw in my video. The second visual effect I made with MAX/JITTER is the image in the lower right corner, this is an interactive video, I did s series of patches to have an interacting with my camera of computer, then recorded it as a part of video source. But actually if it is show at church or any real space, the viewer could have an interacting with the camera, then their activities will be displayed on the screen, combined with the videos I’ve made. And the third part visual I was made by TouchDesigner, they are an abstract expression of stream of consciousness, they are an audiovisual video. I used the noise I made by MAX to control the transformation of their lines and moving, and the graphic is mainly based on changing lines, in order to fit “stream” feature. They represent images that are constantly changing in the stream of consciousness and a series of associations or imaginations.

Because I want to show the stream of consciousness in my mind, so part of the sound I choose to use is some environmental sound around us in life, such as the sound of vehicles on the street, the sound of machines, and the voice of people’s talking. The sound is constantly changing, just like consciousness flowing out of the mind. There is also a main part of the voice is the reading of a text, from the novel “Ulysses”. Because this text is both the source of my inspiration and James’ description of the stream of consciousness in the character’s mind. I used MAX/MSP to process the two parts of the sound. Not only because that I want to show it in a computational way, the more important reason is that as written in the book “Confessions” —my memory, “also contains my feelings, not in the same way as they are present to the mind when it experiences them, but in a quite different way that is in keeping with the special powers of the memory.” I think the memory and imagination reproduced in the mind are affected by our individual experience and become different. So I used MAX/MSP/JITTER to change both the sound and video, form them more subjective ways and to show them with my own subjective feelings. Furthermore, I also made some simulated noise with MAX/MSP. So, these are pictures of my patches. The picture below is the process of arranging the sound I created with MAX/MSP with some musical elements by using Ableton.

Future development

In the future development direction of my work. I think my work can add more interactive elements. Although it now has an element of interacting with the audience, the video content in the existing works more emphatically shows my personal stream of consciousness. I hope to improve the technical components and add more elements that can show the stream of consciousness of each visitor into my work. For example, when different visitors come to watch this work, its five images will present different content, or when it is exhibited in one space, the day and night images will present different content.  Moreover, each individual image element can generate more contact with visitors. These are the directions I hope my work will have in the next development.

Self evaluation

During the creation of the work, after I determined the theme of my work at the beginning, I used different software to make some attempts to determine which effect is more suitable for my work theme. In this process, I came into contact with the use of new software, such as TouchDesigner. I also shared my creative process with my classmates, and got good advice and help. This independent creation is both a challenge and a growth opportunity for me. Because of the coronavirus, most of the time can only be created at home. How to display the work is a problem encountered in the creation; but after discussing with classmates and referencing related art works, a solution was obtained. These experiences are a special experience for me. Furthermore, considering the presentation effect of the work, I chose to use MAX as the main creative method. So, in this work creation, I learned more about MAX., Although I have encountered many problems in this process, in addition to searching for answers on the Internet, I have also learned to break down the problems into small problems one by one, and then solve them step by step, enhancing my independent thinking ability.


Augustine, Confessions, trans. H. Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 10:220-21.

Endel Tulving, “How Many Memory Systems Are There?” American Psychologist 40, no.4(1984):385-98.

Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, trans. K. McLaughlin and D.Pellauer(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 1:68.

Siri Hustedt. Living,Thingking,Looking. Hachette UK,June,2012.