Artist Profile: Christine Sun Kim

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Christine Sun Kim, Speaker Drawing (2012)

Your own physical presence seems integral to your work. Sometimes you are literally in the space, guiding people and forging an interaction—I think of Gesture Sign Art that I saw at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2012, where you showed instructions on an iPad for viewers to manipulate transducers and piano wires in space to create vibrations together. At other times you leave objects in the space that show evidence of your actions, like the Speaker Drawings that manifested transducer vibrations on paper. Do you think of those projects in terms of action and evidence? Are they autonomous, or do they require you to activate them?

Some of my performances are about the process of building a platform and conducting participants to become my voice (Subjective Loudness in Tokyo, 2013) rather than leaving my traces afterwards. It seems as if my "voice" as an artist cannot be conveyed without all those people’s involvement. It’s almost a direct reflection of my everyday communication. I expand my voice through other voices.

The Speaker Drawings were my baby steps as a sound artist, and I don't do them anymore. They were very straightforward: sound to visual. I'm so into the conceptual aspect of sound that these drawings almost feel like decoration, almost empty... or just a vessel. I like getting messy, though.

I met you while working for the Bard MFA program and was hired to be your note taker—I would transcribe all your studio visits with professors and afterwards you would read how the conversation had been translated through your interpreter from ASL [American Sign Language] to spoken English. I suddenly understood to what extent all communication is mediated artificially, and also confronted issues of accessibility for the first time. Do you think you're placed in an "educative" role by default in an art world where accessibility is so rarely part of the conversation?

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Contagion! James Hoff's infected media

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Music video by Nic Hamilton for James Hoff, Blaster (PAN, 2014).

In 2003, the Blaster Worm was a formidable security breach. A blended threat, rolling bad code into elements of various viruses and worms, it moved swift and ruthless across four hundred thousand Microsoft computers within two weeks.

For his record Blaster, released last month on the Berlin-based label PAN, artist James Hoff used the Blaster computer virus to warp beats from the 808 drum machine into a fungal aural mass. 

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As Queer Listening: An Interview with Sergei Tcherepnin

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Sergei Tcherepnin, Ear Tone Box (Pied Piper Disappears), 2013. Microsuede, wood, zinc, silk, transducers, amplifier, iPod. Image courtesy Murray Guy. From a poster by Center for Experimental Lectures. 

In January 2014, the artist Sergei Tcherepnin participated in a lecture series organized by the Center for Experimental Lectures at Recess. The evening was dedicated to investigating sound as an artistic material, both material and psychological, and also featured philosopher Christoph Cox. While Cox discussed the idea of sound as a pre-linguistic material, Tcherepnin took the opportunity to discuss an aspect of sound practice that remains largely unheard: queer sound and queer listening.

In this dual performance-lecture, "In Search of Queer Sound," Tcherepnin proposed that sound, and the process of listening, exists beyond pure materiality: listening as a social process, one that is not only natural, but also cultural. He suggested that much like linguistic comprehension, our perception of sound is socially coded.

Six months later, I spoke with Tcherepnin to clarify some of the points made during his lecture, to discuss some of his recent exhibitions, and to understand how the concept of queering sound informs his artistic practice, especially as sound continues to rise as an artistic medium and curatorial model.

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July 31, 2014. Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, NY—Bedford Hills Café.

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Artist Profile: Kimmo Modig

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

"In the distance I see Kimmo Modig. He's walking around Helsinki with his iphone, grumbling about bad art."
Antagon 2013: Proceedings (2013)

Age: 32

Location: Helsinki, Finland.

Jesse Darling: How/when did you begin working creatively with technology?

Kimmo Modig: I remember doing sound collages with boomboxes in my early teens, you know, like having two of them playing something I’d recorded earlier as a backtrack while the third one recorded whatever I was doing live on top of that. I’d repeat this process again and again until the signal-to-noise ratio was heavily weighted towards noise. But already at that time I always wanted to use my voice, to have a narrative of sorts. I’ve lately been returning to a way of being that I had in my teens, when I was dressing to provoke and performing nude on stage with my childhood friends.

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