One of the remarkable yet ironic aspects of CK's work is that it has been enthusiastically embraced by the fine art world: her work has been shown at prestigious museum, and it is considered to be at the forefront of contemporary art (Kim, 2020). However, it is only through her creation of dialogic objects (Garfinkel, 2017) that her ideas are so wholly accepted into the greater discourse. Her words have to be translated through her artwork in order to be understood, just as her ASL communications have had to be received indirectly, through interpreters, for her entire life. Rather than "valu[ing] the lived experience" of CK and others in the Deaf community, "without needing copious amounts of data to make them valid," (Brown, 2020, p. 14), society requires CK to make extraordinary objects that are humorous and human in order to take her seriously. In fact, the smudges she leaves on the page seem necessary for this purpose. If CK were to create technically perfect, sleek objects with no remnants of her fallible self, her humanity might get lost behind the material and form and her creations might stand alone and not carry the full weight of her "real lived experience" (Brown, 2020, p. 18). CK's identity is tightly woven into her making, and the process of creating and sharing her work is an act of continual resistance against the authority of sound.
"Fingerspelling Chart," copyright 2007, by William Vicars (http://lifeprint.com). Gallaudet Font, copyright 1991, by David Rakowski.
All other images by Adrienne McNair.
Brown, J. (2020). Critical Race Theory and Makerspaces: A Practical Approach. In M. Melo and J. Nichols (Eds.), Re-making the Library Makerspace: Critical Theories, Reflections, and Practices (pp. 11–26). Litwin Books and Library Juice Press.
Garfinkel, S. (2017). Dialogic objects in the age of 3-D printing: The case of the Lincoln life mask. In J. Sayers (Ed.), Making things and drawing boundaries. University of Minnesota Press.
Kim, C. S. (2015). The enchanting music of sign language [Video]. TED. https://www.ted.com/talks/christine_sun_kim_the_enchanting_music_of_sign_language?language=en#t-116909
Kim, C. S. (2020). Christine Sun Kim. http://christinesunkim.com/
May, E. (2019, August 9). Expressing rage through angles and pie charts with Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim. Friends of Friends. https://www.freundevonfreunden.com/interviews/berlin-christine-sun-kim/
MIT List Visual Arts Center. (2020). Christine Sun Kim: Off the charts. MIT List Visual Arts Center. https://listart.mit.edu/exhibitions/christine-sun-kim-charts-0
MIT List Visual Arts Center. (2020, March 18). Christine Sun Kim: Off the charts [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ySGEwQWNOQ
MoMA. (2013). Christine Sun Kim: Biography. Soundings exhibition artists. https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/5/works/
pensum. (2012, October 20). Christine Sun Kim: Listening with one's eyes. Artist statements: An archive. https://artiststatements.wordpress.com/tag/christine-sun-kim/#:~:text=As%20a%20visual%20and%20performance,views%20and%20etiquettes%20around%20it.
Rakowski, D. (1991). Gallaudet Font [Font].
Vicars, W. (2007). Fingerspelling chart [Graphic]. http://lifeprint.com