I met Christine Sun Kim for the first time in November 3, 2011 during her workshop “Signs as Sounds; Occupy Wall Street” which was hosted at Recess and organized by The Public School New York. She was doing a residency at Recess and hosting many performances as part of Feedback

In Spring 2012, I met her again at Recess and showed some projects I’ve been working on. She liked the Occu-bot projects which had signs saying “Absence is Presence with Distance” and “Silence is Noise without Character” on the other side. We talked about the distinction between noise and silence for the hearing person and non-hearing person.

In spring 2013, I had Christine over for dinner. By this time, we were writing emails frequently, talking about random stuff, projects and life. We also found out we went to the same high school in southern California roughly around the same time, not that it matters much. This drawing is inspired by our exchange from that time.


Hey ck.

Finally have an idea for project. I told you a while ago it takes me a long time to get ready for collaboration. it takes time to build trust, and understand others work and to find a common ground. anyways. here’s a simple beginning which may take on unexpected path.

i must have mentioned a previously, an idea of making a device so we can communicate without ipad or paper. so people can make eye contact and even if they don’t speak same language, or can not hear. ..

Affects, according to Deleuze, are not simple affections, as they are independent from their subject. Artists create affects and percepts, “blocks of space-time”, whereas science works with functions, according to Deleuze, and philosophy creates concepts.

so The new project idea gives up trying to be a communication media, but affective media. (between two persons, and also between a person and their expression).

medium can be any combination of this. -drawing on paper to complete electric circuit. -electronic circuit with sensors and outputs. battery powered devices which two person can use to affect each other. -Face recognition software (FaceOSC) I can show you when we meet. Kyle built an amazing library which can detect person’s facial expression. …..and maybe you will have more ideas on this too.

I wonder if affects can truly exist without human beings. so this idea which started as mediation/ augmentation for individuals, actually become independent from human subjectivity and affect one another like living/ invisible creatures. (this has inspiration from non-philosophy I’m reading for Alex galloways class at tpsny)

let me know what you think

I never asked you this, do you hear somethings? or is sound all vibration and visuals for you? its important to note that this project is not inspired by your deafness. I really find that to be a minor part of you as a person/artist. I think other conversations and shared experiences with you are inspiring the idea. So.. where as the ‘communicative media’ thing I thought of half year ago was basically in response to my frustration with not being able to talk with you, this idea is beyond that phase. it’s a question of how one begins to affect, move, and feel without trying to do so. No time for fake smiles. You also mentioned in ASL or any sign language, facial expression is very important. I think I’m interested in when people use expressions or body not to express something, but somehow strange affects occur without obvious intention.

4.19. 2013

##CK - TY

Anyday, I’m glad you wrote me that email - SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. lemme list out all notes/questions, etc - that often works better for my brain:

  • the bottom line is that you’d like to find a way for us to “exchange” without using language, correct? an abstract kind of dialogue? also, a different type where people don’t intend to express, but affects one way or another?

  • i took some time to read all those affect theories, i cant help it but think of how similar they are with sound. they affect me, but not instantly.. it could take me all day to recognize that. or even a week later. we could think more about the time aspect of this.

  • so interesting that more and more people are starting to mention that i dont look up or at their eyes enough while handwriting or typing. with deaf people, i look right into their eyes for the most of the time (well, obviously).. but when it comes to hearing people, i get scared/uncomfortable. very similar to moments of silence, i feel awkward. just like when they say something that i cannot understand, that very moment kinda translates into silence that often made me feel a little uncomfortable. im rambling a little here. …

  • when you said “no more fake smiles”, i cant help it but think of this syndrome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smile_mask_syndrome

  • i hear NOTHING. well, not 100% but if you scream right into my ears, i think i can at least hear, but id “feel” instead. it depends on how you define sound. sometimes by vibrations, sometimes by visuals, sometimes by instincts. when i had hearing aids, whenever there’s a high frequency sound, my eyes would tremble a little. so i often voice very low/pitchy, just enough to make my eyes shake a bit. but i could never “recognize” sound, they all were static with hearing aids on. am i making sense? thats something we could find a way for you to experience that too, without hurting your

She moved to Berlin in the summer of 2013 and we kept in touch, sending notes and ideas.


I received a package of her drawing.

CK to TY “a friend” is you.

btw I’m gonna do a performance in Tokyo in oct and I think I have an idea that id like to incorporate ur drawings. I’m gonna write another email tomorrow or sometime this week.

hope ure enjoying upstate!

In 2015, I invited christine to the Your Friend exhibion.