Cult filmmaker Todd Selby of The Selby blog has done it again. Known for his intriguing photographic insights into the homes of creatives around the world and a new series of video profiles, Selby captures a whole new world of sound in this latest film for Nowness: a beautiful portrait of deaf sonic artist Christine Sun Kim.
Deaf from birth, Kim says she is reclaiming sound with her installations. Exploring the physicality of sound through vibration, she aims to bring sound into a realm where it is accessible for her. This involves being able to see and feel the effects of the sound, allowing her to experience sound (albeit not through the regular channels). The portrait focuses on her relationship with the sonic world and the way she has transformed what most of us take for granted into an entirely visual and physical experience. Kim experiments with the vibration, its effect on different materials such as paper, balloons, string and paint, and footage of her at work in the studio is mesmerising–she is focused, calm, and moves about between her instruments as if she is completely at home.
Selby captures Kim’s dedication to her work beautifully, as we observe Kim’s field recording and her work in the studio. She tells of her confusion growing up, being unable to understand those around her, and the way it influenced her decision to explore this world that was previously so foreign. It’s a reminder of the things we take for granted, but also a tale of determination and what can happen when we refuse to fit the mold.