Christine Sun Kim

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Christine Sun Kim
Christine Sun Kim by Ériver Hijano, 2022
Christine Sun Kim by Ériver Hijano, 2022
Born1980 (1980)
Orange County, California, United States
OccupationSound artist
EducationRochester Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts in New York, Bard College

Christine Sun Kim (born 1980) is an American sound artist based in Berlin.[1] Working predominantly in drawing, performance, and video, Kim's practice considers how sound operates in society.[2] Musical notation, written language, American Sign Language (ASL), and the use of the body are all recurring elements in her work.[3] Her work has been exhibited in major cultural institutions internationally, including in the Museum of Modern Art's first exhibition about sound in 2013[4] and the Whitney Biennial in 2019.[5] She was named a TED Fellow in both 2013 and 2015, a Director's Fellow at MIT Media Lab in 2015,[6][7][8] and a Ford Foundation Disability Futures Fellow in 2020.[9]

Background and education[edit]

Christine Sun Kim was born in 1980 and raised in Southern California with hearing parents and a deaf sister.[10] Her first language is American Sign Language. She has been profoundly deaf since birth. She attended University High School in Irvine, California, and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2002 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.[11] She has a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and another in Sound and Music from Bard College.[12][13]

Art style[edit]

Kim investigates the operations of sound and various aspects of Deaf culture in her performances, videos, and drawings. In developing her personal visual language, Kim draws from a variety of information systems.[14] She uses elements from these systems such as body language, American Sign Language (ASL), musical and graphic notation, and language interpretation, inventing new structures for her compositions and extending each source's scope of communication.[15] She further uses sound to explore her own relationship to verbal languages and her environment. Through her work, she gains control of voice and sound, seeking to release them from social conventions.[16]

Notable performances[edit]

In 2015, she presented a TED Talk at a TED fellows retreat focusing on her relationship to sound, and how she has come to discover similarities between American Sign Language and music. She discussed how she felt that sound does not have to be solely experienced through auditory means.[17]

In 2020, she performed at Super Bowl LIV, in what has become an annual partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).[18] She later penned an op-ed in The New York Times criticizing Fox Sports for cutting away during her American Sign Language performances of "America the Beautiful" and the national anthem.[19]


Close Readings[edit]

Christine Sun Kim first experimented working with video in 2015 with her work Close Readings. Kim had four of her deaf friends recreate scenes from The Addams Family, Ghost, and The Little Mermaid by reading only the subtitles.[20] The work reverses the traditional power dynamic between auditory media and Deaf audience by obscuring the upper half of the image, forcing a hearing audience to instead rely on the Deaf provided captions.

The Sound of[edit]

Kim uses sound to explore her feelings in a unique way, as writer Molly Hannon addresses.[21] Kim's series of drawing, "The Sound of," was exhibited at Rubin Museum of Art. "It all goes back to my experience watching the film, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter." said Kim.[22] Even though there was not much dialogue, she was fascinated by how detailed and descriptive the captions of the movie were.[23] She started to wonder if she was able to portray the sound of intangible objects like emotions or senses. This has become the essential reason she created this series.[22] She takes traditional music dynamics and refashions them into music notes.[24] In one of her drawings, The Sound of Obsessing, Kim uses the symbol "p" to represent the sound of piano and indicate the note is played quietly. As more "p" appears, the notes are played more quietly. Kim concretizes abstract ideas. She believes that obsession has a repetitive pattern and can take up a person's mind. She illustrates this pattern with the "p"s. "As time goes on, the obsession quickens, represented by the shrinking distance of p's. Finally, at the end, the p's are crowded and your mind is racing non-stop. You become totally engrossed with your obsession."[25]

Degrees of Deaf Rage[edit]

In 2018, Christine Sun Kim created a collection of six charcoal drawings on paper that explore "navigating the hearing world as a deaf person" shown in her series titled Degrees of Deaf Rage.[26] The drawings depict various degrees of angles (acute rage, legit rage, obtuse rage, straight up rage, reflex rage, full on rage), each labeled with rage-inducing experiences Kim experiences as a Deaf person.[26] She states, "Deaf rage is a real thing. In the Deaf community, it's something we know so well because we've all gone through it."[27] She hopes to "communicate to a wider audience who are not deaf" and are unfamiliar with her culture,[28] as Deaf people are a cultural entity and not just a group of isolated people who have impaired hearing.[29] Kim uses familiar and relatable formats in Degrees of Deaf Rage so that her "deaf ideas" are easily understandable and accessible to hearing individuals as she explains, "It's like mathematical angles. How much rage do I have? You can see it in that size of the angle".[28]

Solo exhibitions, performances and projects[edit]

  • Calibration Room and Bounce House, University of Texas at Austin Visual Arts Center, March–April 2015.[30]
  • Nap Disturbance, performance, Frieze London, October 6–9, 2016. Organized by Carroll/Fletcher.[14]
  • Face Value, workshop, Tate Modern, London, October 13–14, 2016.[31]
  • (LISTEN), A sound walk by Christine Sun Kim, organized by, New York City, October 29–30, 2016.[32]
  • Lautplan, Kammer Klang, Cafe Oto, London, UK, 2017[33]
  • Busy Days, De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, NL, 2017[34]
  • Sound Diet and Lullabies for Roux, White Space Beijing booth, Art Basel, CH, 2018[35]
  • Too Much Future, Public Art Installation, Whitney Museum, NY, USA, 2018[36]
  • With a Capital D, White Space, Beijing, CN, 2018-19[37]
  • Finish Forever, Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, USA, 2018-19[38]
  • ‘To Point a Naked Finger': Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Jan. 26–Apr. 21, 2019[39]
  • Music Box + Smithsonian APA, New Orleans, LA, USA, 2019[40]
  • Spoken on My Behalf, Brown Arts Initiative, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, 2019[40]

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • Sounds Like Her, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK, 2017[41]
  • The World is Sound, Rubin Museum, New York, NY, USA, 2017[42]
  • Soundtracks, SF Museum of Modern Art, CA, USA, 2017[43]
  • Resonant Spaces, Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, NH, USA, 2017[44]
  • Serralves Collection: New Lines, Images, Objects, Serralves Museum, Porto, PT, 2018[45]
  • For the Record, ifa gallery, Berlin, DE[46]
  • Paulo Cunha e Silva Art Prize, Galeria Municipal do Porto, Porto, PT, 2018[47]
  • What We Make, Ross Art Museum, Delaware, OH, USA, 2018[48]
  • 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms, Jefferson City, MO and Des Moines, IA, USA, 2018[49]
  • Louder Than Words, Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, USA, 2019[50]
  • Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum, NY, USA, 2019[51]
  • Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA[52]


  1. ^ Furman, Anna (2019-05-21). "An Artist Who Channels Her Anger Into Pie Charts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  2. ^ Corapi, Sarah (29 January 2015). "Deaf since birth, artist Christine Sun Kim explores the social rules of sound". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Christine Sun Kim: Too Much Future". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  4. ^ "SOUNDINGS". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  5. ^ "Whitney Biennial 2019". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  6. ^ "How Christine Sun Kim, Deaf Sound Artist, Hears Everything". The Daily Beast. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  7. ^ "SVA Alumnus Christine Sun Kim Awarded TED Fellowship". SVA Close Up. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  8. ^ "New-Christine". MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  9. ^ "Disability Futures Fellows". Ford Foundation. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  10. ^ "Christine Sun Kim: 'I'm not trying to be a freak show'". The Guardian. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  11. ^ Murad, Susan L. (Fall–Winter 2011). "Alumni Profiles" (PDF). Focus: 15. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  12. ^ College, Bard. "Bard MFA Thesis Exhibition and Presentations, July 22–29". Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  13. ^ "The Aural Artist". Interview Magazine. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Carroll / Fletcher presents Christine Sun Kim at Frieze London 2016 | Art Agenda". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  15. ^ "Christine Sun Kim". Carroll / Fletcher. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  16. ^ "Christine Sun Kim Speaking Bio and Videos | The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  17. ^ Kim, Christine Sun (28 October 2015), The enchanting music of sign language, retrieved 2021-04-19
  18. ^ "Christine Sun Kim, the Transgressive Deaf Artist, Will Sign the National Anthem Alongside Demi Lovato During the Super Bowl". artnet News. 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  19. ^ Kim, Christine Sun (2020-02-03). "Opinion | I Performed at the Super Bowl. You Might Have Missed Me". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  20. ^ Hannon, Molly (June 2015). "How Christine Sun Kim, Deaf Sound Artist, Hears Everything" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-06-04.
  21. ^ Hannon, Molly (June 2015). "How Christine Sun Kim, Deaf Sound Artist, Hears Everything" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-06-04.
  22. ^ a b Christine Sun Kim: The World is Sound, retrieved 2020-06-04
  23. ^ "X-TRA". Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  24. ^ "Christine Sun Kim › the sound of non-sounds". Christine Sun Kim. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  25. ^ Kim, Christine Sun. "Christine Sun Kim: The Sound of Obsessing | Off the Charts". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  26. ^ a b Furman, Anna (2019-05-21). "An Artist Who Channels Her Anger Into Pie Charts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  27. ^ "Expressing rage through angles and pie charts with Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim". Freunde von Freunden. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  28. ^ a b "Artist Christine Sun Kim on 'deaf rage,' the Super Bowl and the power of sound". The World from PRX. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  29. ^ Rutherford, Susan (1988). "The Culture of American Deaf People". Sign Language Studies. 59: 129–147. doi:10.1353/sls.1988.0022. S2CID 144128835 – via Project MUSE.
  30. ^ "Visual Arts Center – Department of Art and Art History – The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  31. ^ "Carroll / Fletcher presents Christine Sun Kim at Frieze London 2016 | Art Agenda". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  32. ^ "A Silent Soundwalk, Noisy with Abstract Compositions". Hyperallergic. 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  33. ^ "Christine Sun Kim › lautplan". Christine Sun Kim. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  34. ^ "Christine Sun Kim | BUSY DAYS | De Appel Arts Centre | Amsterdam". Carroll / Fletcher. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  35. ^ "Christine Sun Kim › one week of lullabies for roux". Christine Sun Kim. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  36. ^ "Christine Sun Kim: Too Much Future". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  37. ^ "Christine Sun Kim's "With a Capital D" at White Space, Beijing | BLOUIN ARTINFO". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  38. ^ "Christine Sun Kim: Finish Forever | François Ghebaly | Artsy". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  39. ^ "To Point a Naked Finger: Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader". Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
  40. ^ a b Kim, Christine Sun. "Upcoming Exhibition". Christine Sun Kim. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Christine Sun Kim CV". Christine Sun Kim. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  42. ^ "The World Is Sound". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  43. ^ "Soundtracks · SFMOMA". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  44. ^ "A Feast for the Ears at the Hood Downtown: Jess Rowland". dailyUV. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  45. ^ "Fundação de Serralves". Serralves. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  46. ^ "For the Record". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  47. ^ "Paulo Cunha e Silva · Art Prize". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  48. ^ "Art Exhibit: 'What We Make,' Aug. 22-Oct. 7". Ohio Wesleyan University. 22 August 2018. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  49. ^ "Explore". For Freedoms. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  50. ^ Malone, Tess (2019-01-30). "Louder Than Words: Zuckerman Museum of Art's newest exhibition spotlights artists who practice nonverbal communication". Atlanta Magazine. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  51. ^ "Whitney Biennial 2019". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  52. ^ "Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon". Retrieved 2019-03-26.

External links[edit]