White Space Beijing booth
Art Basel 2018, Statements Sector
14 - 17 June 2018
Listening is not just an experience involving mere sound, but also a variety of sensory, emotional, and physical responses that reach beyond sonic properties. After the birth of Christine Sun Kim's daughter in 2017, Kim began to concern herself with what it means to raise a hearing child—and moreover, doing so in a trilingual household. Frequently Kim witnessed that when parents in such a constellation don't pay enough attention to both signed and spoken languages, placing equal time, value, and emphasis on both signing and speaking, hearing children will tend to favor the spoken language in the long term.
In order for Kim's deafness and the use of American Sign Language (ASL) to remain a key norm in her daughter's life, she has created what she calls a "Sound Diet". This concept aims to ensure that Deaf culture, as well as the use of ASL as a core language, are not otherised and eventually considered less relevant or efficient due to the child's socialization in a hearing-dominant society, and thus has practical real-life implications for her family. As a piece, Sound Diet consists of various suggested amounts of listening for hearing people in different social and communicative situations. Kim's score accompanies short texts such as "Suggested Amount of Listening to Radio During a Car Trip from A to B," and, as she lives together with her hearing partner, "Suggested Amount of Spoken Language at a Deaf Person's Home."
Charcoal on paper
Photos by Christian Liebermann