This post is part of our series in honor of ADA Awareness Month. While on a national level the focus is disability employment awareness, CKP is focusing on artists.
Sound? Look At It This Way. . .
By Karyn Lie-Nielsen
I have a childhood memory of my hearing-impaired father placing his hands on the radio as it sat humming on the hall table, holding on so that he could “listen” to music. I was reminded of the scene when I first saw the how the of Deaf artist, Christine Sun Kim, creates her visual art.
First consider: How do people with hearing disabilities conceive of sound—this attribute that almost everyone else is born with but which a margin of the population is missing?
Christine Sun Kim has been deaf since birth, yet she is known as a sound artist. Sun Kim “plays” with things that make noise. Using noise as the initiating medium, she visually records the sound by randomly placing colored paintbrushes onto palette-like speakers so that the vibrations are reproduced graphically as images. The resulting illustration isn’t nearly as impressive as the action, the performance itself, as objects visually dance on the canvases. Sun Kim says that her work deals with the “physicality of sound.” What strikes me is how my father would have appreciated seeing how she does it. No hands required.