Reflections on Talking and Listening, commentary by Dean Kissick

“Listen more, even when it’s dull and boring.”

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, the central concept of Reflections On Talking And Listening; three animated shorts promoting the importance of emotional communication in order to help yourselves and those around you. With ever-rising levels of depression, especially in our developed world, it is more important than ever to talk to each other, and also listen to each other. Jiang, a young Chinese illustrator/animator living and working in London, has a self-proclaimed interest in “anthropology with an emphasis on psychology and the human condition”. Her Royal College of Art degree show project about emotional support is based upon extensive interviews recorded with a series of depressed individuals, and their thoughtful responses are played back anonymously as disembodied voices; drifting over animated talking heads that resemble monolithic mountains floating in a dream-like landscape of washed-out trees, waterfalls and songbirds (scene 1), over a desolate wasteland underneath an ominous gathering of gloomy clouds (scene 2), over a shattered visage of fragmented faces brought slowly back together (scene 3). These visions are contemplative and melancholic, but all suffused with a calming, ethereal atmosphere of understated beauty.
– Dean Kissick, Tank Magazine editor

Visual and Art Direction: Echao Jiang
Sound: Robin Barstow
All Rights Reserved, Royal College of Art 2009


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