My Echo 回声
A downloadable simulation for Windows and macOS
My Echo is a 3D simulation of an echoing mountain made in Unity, a real-time rendering engine typically used to build video games. One initiates by shouting into their microphone; after a few seconds they would hear a playback of their voice with a reverb effect, similar to an echo--the natural phenomenon caused by the reflection of sound waves. Li attempts to summon a familiar image often associated with echos: being on top of the mountains, surrounded by a vast land of rocks and trees, feeling small and insignificant, one shouts into the void, hoping for a response from the unknown. At that moment, echo exceeds its natural existence as a physical phenomenon, and becomes a symbol for human expression: an exclamation of joy, a cry for resonance, or a moment of sublime in Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.
This digital simulation was created during the quarantine to express Li’s longing for an escape in times of isolation. When Li heard her own echo in My Echo, she felt a sense of relief, a momentary break from her daily routine. She shouted out random words to a computer screen and giggled at her own voice. Those usually laughable actions become reasonable in this context as they are justified by this program’s rules. She simply followed them. This ability of experiences bounded by rules and interactivity to temporarily change one’s behavior and re-contextualize an environment fascinates Li. By creating such simulations, she wishes to explore the role of interactivity in worlds of make-believe, and their potential to liberate us from social and logical restrictions. Through her work, Li also raises questions about our relationship with technology. What does it mean to create artificial simulacra of something core to nature and physical reality? If they evoke a similar feeling in us, is our reaction to them still authentic?