Ranger Liu

Artist / Astrophysicist
Ranger Liu is an artist and astrophysicist interested in the communicative nature of abstract structure when combined with sound. Their work uses theoretical frameworks such as math, astronomy, physics, and linguistics to develop physical processes for data-based sonic and/or sculptural compositions. They frequently use their lived experience as a queer & trans Chinese-American as “source material” for these compositions, producing autotheoretic works halfway between data sonification/visualization and traditional composition.
Thesis Faculty
Ever BusseyAndrew ZornozaKellee Massey

Sonata for the Body in Three-Part Time

Essays (Prelude & Fugue in Words)


Scores, Coda, Acknowledgements

This is the story of this body, my body, in three-part time.

A past, present, and future told through abstraction and theory and structure

to make this finite body make sense to my infinite soul.


What is the past? A series of memories, thought of in the present. 

Memories as they happened, remembered in a certain order.

What is the past? Memories chopped up, reordered, formed into a new understanding.

The past is a story of memories you tell yourself to make sense of your present moment.

This story I’m telling myself is a story of performance.

Performance of gender, performance of race, performance of music.

Performance through the body.

Performance through the hands.

Present. Asterisms

What is the present moment?

The present is the only tangible reality we’ll ever experience. 

The present is forever in motion.

The present is process and action in the midst of happening. 

My process and action happens between the sky and the ground

between male and female

between Chinese and American 

between tradition and modernity

between religion and science. 

The story of my present is a story of dualities, motions, cycles.

The cycles of this body against the cycles of the sun and moon 

against the cycles of stars in ancient Chinese constellations.

Future. Modal Mixture

What is the future? 

The future is ephemeral and hangs in the air.

The future is distance in time.

Distance in time is the same as distance in space. 

A name is a container for the body, across space. 

A name is a container for the body, across time. 

When I think of the future, I think of names.

The story of my future is a story of names and promises and exchanges.

Like this body, music has many names, serving different points in time and space. 

I invite you to give me a container, to choose a name, a body, a self.

In exchange, I promise to give it back to you across time and space. 

I promise to compose this future from the present moment, your present moment.