Do Aliens Live a Mundane Life? (2021)
Cover art: The cover of Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, August 1952.
The composition is made with recordings of common household gadgets, including electric toothbrushes, faucets, sinks, doorstops, milk bottles, light switches, a coffee machine, a laundry machine, and electric current.
An alien spaceship lands on Mother Earth. To the aliens in the ship, it is their mother ship landing on an alien planet, and we Earthers are aliens to them. For both sides, we wonder about the same questions: how do the aliens live their life? Is it just as mundane as mine? Do they brush their teeth everyday? Do they even have teeth?
Our mundanity may be their spectacle, and vice versa. Alienness is a statement of distinction between the “us” and the “other”, the known and the unknown. As a “resident alien” living in the United States, I often envisage: do my usual behaviors seem alien to the “general public”?
Hence, I decided on the title, Do Aliens Live a Mundane Life? It is an innocent pseudo-proposition that suggests some degree of the ignorance of the questioner. As they project their normality onto an unknown species, they make unfair and unthoughtful assumptions. I phrased the title in homage to Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, in hopes that it will arise associated ideas of curiosity, hostility and empathy towards a different kind of people. I want to explore the boundary between alienness and familiarity, the otherworldly and the mundane. The two polars seem to be completely opposite and incompatible, but with a change of perspective, the one is the other.
It was premiered on December 1st, 2021, at the first concert of the PRISMS festival.
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