September 20, 2017 10:00 am
Language is a gift. A beautiful gift. So is music. In 2013, Alice Herz Sommer, the (then) “world’s oldest pianist and oldest Holocaust survivor“ (109 years old), said: “It is a mystery that when the first tone of music starts, it goes straight away in our soul” (YouTube, 2013). Sign language is a musical gift as well.
Christine Sun Kim is a “sound artist” and “composer” (TED, 2015a), who was born deaf (TED, 2015b). However, this was not an obstacle for her. “Through her art, she discovered similarities between American Sign Language and music, and she realized that sound (…) can be felt, seen and experienced as an idea” (TED, 2015b). By using “the medium of sound through technology and conceptualism in art”, Christine Sun Kim is able “to raise questions on ownership of sound, explore oral languages as social currency, deconstruct preconceived ideas about silence, and above all, unlearn sound etiquette” (TED, 2015a). In August 2015, she invited attendees to see, hear and feel the musicality of sign language.
You might also be interested in some of our previous posts:
- Video Fix: How sign language innovators are bringing music to the deaf community
- Watching Music: the importance of sign language
- Musica fix: Music is (sign) language
- TED (2015a). Christine Sun Kim. Available at: http://bit.ly/2eKu7Nu (Accessed 6 September 2017)
- TED (2015b). Christine Sun Kim: The Enchanting Music of Sign Language. Available at: http://bit.ly/2gLoCyz (Accessed 6 September 2017)
- YouTube (2013). “Music Goes Straight Away in Our Soul” – Alice Herz-Sommer Words of Wisdom #16. Available at: https://youtu.be/ffnvmvs_Pdo (Accessed 12 September 2017)
Written by Pedro Ramos – Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).
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