Christine Sun Kim: The enchanting music of sign language
Artist Christine Sun Kim was born deaf, and she was taught to believe that sound wasn't a part of her life, that it was a hearing person's thing. Through her art, she discovered similarities between American Sign Language and music, and she realized that sound doesn't have to be known solely through the ears it can be felt, seen and experienced as an idea. In this endearing talk, she invites us to open our eyes and ears and participate in the rich treasure of visual language.
Through visual art, composition and performance, Christine Sun Kim explores ways of transmuting sound and silence.
Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound through technology and conceptualism in art, as it enables her to have the most direct connection to society at large.
She rationalizes and reframes her relationship with sound and spoken languages by using audience’s voice as her own, conducting a group of people to sing with facial movements (rather than sound), composing visual scores with sign language and musical symbols. These attempts are made to raise questions on ownership of sound, explore oral languages as social currency, deconstruct preconceived ideas about silence, and above all, unlearn sound etiquette.
As part of her practice, Kim borrows other people’s voices in order to have one and she does it by collaborating with artists such as Devonté Hynes, Thomas Benno Mader, Wolfgang Müller and Alison O’Daniel. Selected exhibitions and performances include: Sound Live Tokyo, Tokyo; White Space, Beijing; LEAP, Berlin; Carroll / Fletcher, London; nyMusikk, Oslo; Andquestionmark, Stockholm; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Recess Activities, New York; Calder Foundation, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Additionally, she was a recipient of Artist Residency at Whitney Museum, Haverford College, Southern Exposure, Arnolfini, University of Texas’ Visual Arts Center and Fellowship at TED and MIT Media Lab.
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