Christine Sun Kim on Sound, Listening and the Importance of Sign Language

We have previously mentioned sound artist Christine Sun Kim and her amazing work. Born deaf, she is dedicated to sound, offering a very interesting perspective towards it, also creating engaging questions toward the act of listening, as she notes in the latest issue of The Wire (issue 382): “I probably love incidental listening more than an average hearing person, and that does not happen to me very often. That made me think about how laborious listening can be, as there are many different ways for me to listen – paper/pen, reading, body language, interpreter, lip-reading – and you guys probably only have two ways or so. This prompted me to think about how I can encourage you guys to listen better or differently. Or to listen like a gamer”.

In this TED talk, she exposes those ideas in more detail, starting from the point of recognizing that she was thought to believe that sound wasn’t important in her life, but then with the artistic process she discovered a whole different perspective in which she started to value sound as a big part of her vital experience because, as she explores, it is not an ear exclusivity. In the emotive talk she showcases some of her artistic practices, explores interesting parallels of sound and listening in relation with American Sign Language, music, and visual language, thereby addressing interesting issues on inclusion and sociopolitical aspects of sound.

More on her website.

Miguel Isaza M

Listener, speaker.