I believe in destiny. I feel a special bond with someone who I happen to meet despite all the odds. I felt that way strongly about sound artist Christine Sun Kim. Perhaps I could’ve been able to connect to her rather easily because of our similar cultural background. I was a lonesome international student from Korea in college surrounded by colleagues who don’t get my struggles every inch. Full of self-doubt, I was then desperate to find a mentor figure or inspiration who made it in art as an immigrant.
Along the way, I had a delightful encounter with Christine Sun Kim first time. One of the galleries at school had her over for a short term artist-in-residence program. I missed the artist talk because of schedule conflict and in retrospect I don’t think I cared for it as much.
Thank god I had a roommate who attended the talk and filled me in with what a fascinating work Kim does! Christine Sun Kim was born deaf. But her art is about sound. She communicates with the world about her relationship to sound and language through art that are made interactive and inviting. You’re challenged to navigate a basic sense that’s taken for granted within her work: hearing. Take Kim’s words from the Guardian below:
“Being deaf in a world of sound is like living in a foreign country blindly following the cultural rules, customs and behaviours without ever questioning them … Sound is almost like money and power. It’s so powerful that it could either disempower me and my art, or empower me. I chose to be empowered.”
So yes, it was my huge loss not going to her talk. Returning to Korea, I thought I’d never see her work again, but surprisingly she was one of the participant artists at the media biennial in Korea. With all my heart, it felt like a destiny. Not everyone gets a second chance, do they? I finally participated her performance on site (even better), which cleared out my curiosity for unknown subject to some extent.
Again it’s a genuine embodiment of Felix Gonzalez Torress’s words: your limitations should be your strengths. Kudos for Christine Sun Kim.
Written by Joomi Lee, BBuzzArt Marketing
This article was published for artists and art enthusiasts by BBuzzArt.