The MIT List Visual Arts Center is pleased to presentChristine Sun Kim: Off the Charts, on view from February 7—April 12, 2020. Working in sound, performance, drawing, installation, and video, the California-born, Berlin-based artist considers the sonic as a multi-sensory phenomenon, whose properties are auditory, visual, and spatial, as well as socially determined. Much of her work is invested in uncovering the politics of voice, listening, and language; troubling conceptions of sound as being inextricably tethered to hearing and the implicit authority of spoken over signed language.
Kim conceives of sound as both a series of conceptual relationships and a form of social currency. Drawing has become a key mode through which she parses these dynamics. Economic, deadpan compositions, her drawings are usually executed in black charcoal. They borrow variously from the structure of musical notation, dynamics, and data visualizations, often representing the spatial and formal qualities of American Sign Language (ASL), her first language. Many of Kim’s drawings, including The Sound of Obsessing (2017) reconfigured as a large-scale mural in the adjacent MIT Media Lab atrium, adopt the symbols P and F. In sheet music, these respectively indicate the relational musical dynamics of piano, or soft playing and forte, or loud playing—to convey Kim’s diagrammatic interpretations of affective states and emotions in sound.
MIT List Visual Arts Center