"I constantly questioned the ownership of sound," artist Christine Sun Kim signs in a short film made by photographer and filmmaker Todd Selby. "Now I'm reclaiming sound as my property," the California-born, New York-based artist proclaims.
Deaf from birth, Kim's artwork explores what she calls the "physicality of sound," examining, investigating and reclaiming sound for herself. The beautifully shot and directed short shows us a slice from Kim's life. Following the artist from her Chinatown apartment where we watch her delicately apply makeup, to her studio as she examines physical manifestations of sound through a series of experiments; the film does a superb job of introducing us to Kim's work.
We witness Kim's playfulness and creativity as she makes "seismic calligraphy" drawings, arranges nails to palpitate across a canvas to a subwoofer's vibrations, and plays with the feedback of neighborhood noises, helium ballons, and the whoosh of her own breath.
A graduate of Bard College and SVA's MFA programs, Kim's work has been seen and experienced around the world. She calls into question ideas of ownership, the limits of sound, and the many ways in which the most banal of objects can push the boundaries of painting and drawing.
Kim pulls us back for a moment, allowing us to dissect and review the ways in which we handle sound. "There are social norms surrounding sound that form our speech development and our way of handling sound with care," Kim notes in an interview with NOWNESS. "They're so deeply ingrained that, in a sense, our identities cannot be complete without sound."
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