Christine Sun Kim: Nap Disturbance


6–9 October 2016

1pm and 5pm daily


For Carroll / Fletcher’s inaugural participation in Frieze London, Christine Sun Kim has devised a new collaborative sound performance, Nap Disturbance, which will be the first of its kind at the fair.


Deaf from birth, Kim has made a name for herself with a multimedia practice including drawing, painting, and performance, which teases out the materiality of sound and opens up new fields of perception for both hearing and non-hearing audiences.


Much of Kim’s practice to date has centred on what she calls ‘hearing etiquette’. These are behaviours she finds herself adopting to remain within the bounds of accepted social interactions in a hearing world. While she cannot hear them herself, the artist has developed a heightened awareness of the sounds her actions produce. Nap Disturbance grew out of the experience of trying to keep quiet while her partner – who works night shifts – sleeps during the day. This led Kim to reflect on how differently the sounds she produces, and indeed sounds in general, are perceived depending on their context.


“I am often the sound that is trying not to make a sound everywhere it goes,” she says. “I understand the range of each sound I make by looking at the way people respond to it and that feedback shapes each sound’s personality / character.” The hearing people around Kim function effectively as her echo chamber: the artist ‘hears’ by looking at others’ physical reactions to the aural environment, and these, in turn, inform her understanding of specific sounds and their place in her imaginary.


In Nap Disturbance, Kim and a group of both deaf and hearing performers explore the sonic range produced by the manipulation of everyday objects, many of which can be found at the fair itself: from stationary to crockery and food packaging. These mundane activities are performed in unison, first quietly and then increasingly loudly, from what the artist describes as “polite to not-so-polite” (e.g. swallowing vs. gulping water, pulling a chair vs. dragging it). Kim’s performers are dressed in bright chroma green. The distinctive hue is most commonly used in film post-production to overlay images and it plays here on the ideas of visibility / audibility and disappearance / silence, which subtend the artist’s work.


Nap Disturbance will take place daily in the LIVE square. Throughout the piece, performers will interact with different sets of objects, ranging from trash bins to Frieze catalogues. At once humorous and disarmingly heartfelt, Nap Disturbance highlights the subtle way in which Kim challenges the behavioural standards set by a still hegemonic hearing culture.


“Being deaf in a world of sound is like living in a foreign country blindly following the cultural rules, customs, and behaviours without ever questioning them … Sound is almost like money and power. It’s so powerful that it could either disempower me and my art, or empower me. I chose to be empowered.”

- Christine Sun Kim


Christine Sun Kim (b.1980, Orange County, California) holds an MFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts and an MFA in Music and Sound from Bard College. She currently lives and works between New York and Berlin. Her recent exhibitions and performances include Rustle Tustle, Carroll / Fletcher, London, UK; Bounce House, Sound Live Tokyo, Japan; Greater New York, MoMA PS1, USA; Silence, with Chelsea Knight, New Museum, New York, USA; Almost A Score, Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Art, Bristol, UK (all 2015); and Soundings: A Contemporary Score, MoMA, New York, USA (2013). She has been artist-in-residence at the Whitney Museum, Haverford College, Southern Exposure, Arnolfini, and the University of Texas Visual Arts Center. She has also been a TED Fellow. In 2015, she was named a Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab.


Christine Sun Kim

Stephen Collins
Brian Duffy
Vilma Jackson
Ace Mahbaz
Ruth Montgomery
Lucas Odahara


For further information or interview requests please contact Khuroum Bukhari: / +44 (0)7586 679 273


More information here.


Image credit:

The enchanting music of sign language, a TED talk by Christine Sun Kim, 2015, photo by Ryan Lash