A Sound Artist Exposes the Complex Relationship Between Deaf and Hearing Cultures
At first glance, the term “deaf sound artist” might seem an oxymoron. The Berlin-based, Korean-American artist Christine Sun Kim wants to uproot that assumption. Over the past decade, Kim has created a multidisciplinary body of work that investigates the complex, and often confrontational, relationship between Deaf culture and hearing culture. Her 2013 performance “Face Opera II,” for example, features an all-deaf cast but no signing, upending the expectations of hearing viewers. For her recent project “Captioning the City,” Kim installed large-scale descriptions of various noises across Manchester, England, urging viewers to reconsider how sound is experienced in an urban space. Across disciplines, Kim has sought to expand our understanding of both sound and communication, and to make visible the often overlooked labor that deaf people undertake to engage with the hearing.