• Roger Matthews

VR Audio Concept - "Can You Hear Me?"

Your vision is pitch black. You can't see, speak, or move, and all you can hear are voices talking around you. They whisper to each other "Should we pull the plug?". One of the voices gets closer to you, and whispers, "Can you hear me?"


"Can You Hear Me?" is a binaural audio experience where you are a patient laying in a hospital bed. You are surrounded by your family and a doctor who debate with whether to pull the plug on your life support. Your family on the left argues that you are still conscious and can be saved, while your family on the right argues that you have shown no signs of movement in a very long time. The doctor says your condition's details are unprecedented, and that they cannot yet come to a determination about the best recommended course of action.

People will walk near you and try to snap their fingers or talk into your ear as ways to gauge if you will respond at all to their actions. They will ask you to speak - but of course, there is no microphone to react with.

By the end of the experience, both sides of the family cannot come to a resolution, and storm away, resolving to discuss this matter in further detail later. After everyone leaves, your sister walks up to your left side, and tells you they haven't given up on you.


This concept is a binaural audio piece because I really wanted to focus on the disconnect humans can have with one another, and how we take for granted various commonalities in how we communicate. In this situation, we can hear the characters around us - we simply cannot see them or respond. Clearly we, the listener, are alive, but with only headphones to listen with and no microphone to respond with, there is no way for us to let these characters know we are alive.

This piece loosely focuses on the theme of "intimacy and its spectators" by examining how a hospital room can be both a place of intimacy and spectatorship. It can be a place for an individual to come to comfort a loved one in the hospital, or it can be a place for a family member to be displayed in an almost theatrical manner to be scrutinized and analyzed by the various visitors who come by. The patient in the hospital becomes, in essence, the "performer" who is the center of attention for their audience.

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