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Christine Sun  Kim | TED Senior Fellow, Sound Artist, and Composer
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound in performance and drawing to investigate her relationship with spoken languages and her aural environment. Born deaf, Kim felt that she had no “ownership” of sound. In her multimedia presentations, she takes claim of sound and the relationship she has forged to it, by liberating the voice from social constraints and norms. 

Due to her deafness, figuring out which sounds she “owned” and which were “out of limits” remains a long process. She gives workshops and talks on sound art, combines musical notations and several other systems to produce visual scores and transcripts, conducts a choir that uses facial expressions to “sing,” and vocalizes through a set of piano wires and transducers. Kim combines conceptual and literal attempts to shift the “ownership” of sound and language, while simultaneously legitimizing her perception.


Born in California and based in New York, Christine Sun Kim has an MFA in Sound/Music from Bard College and an earlier MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She is a TED Senior Fellow and has been awarded TED and MIT Media Lab Fellowships.  In 2020, she made history as the first ever deaf Asian American to sign the national anthem at the Superbowl, in a performance TIME called “required viewing”.

Speech Topics

Liberating the Voice Owning, Exploring, and Knowing Sound
How much of a role does sound play in identity formation? Who “owns” sound? Growing up deaf, Christine Sun Kim felt that she was disconnected from the sounds she made, and further disconnected from those around her. By taking an new approach to creating and experiencing sound, she opens up the possibility of liberating the voice. In her interactive presentations, Kim develops a polyphonic approach to understanding the role sound and spoken language plays in our lives. By using technology and her art practice to give her a “voice,” Kim harnesses drawings, performances, installations, workshops, and talks to bring her voice alive and break down the walls between us.