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Christine Sun Kim: Cues on Point

Jun 30–fall 2023



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American, Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim works in video, performance, and drawing, considering how sound operates in society and exploring various aspects of Deaf culture.

Still Cuesonpoint 3

Still from Cues on Point, 2022

Christine Sun Kim. Courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly

Her work Cues on Point reflects on the linguistic layers of Kim’s 2020 American Sign Language (ASL) performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LIV, alongside singers Demi Lovato and Yolanda Adams. The two-channel video shows a mixture of ASL signs and an agreed-upon signaling system that the artist’s longtime ASL interpreter Beth Staehle used to indicate to Kim how long the singers were holding their notes to ensure the signed melody kept pace with the sung one. Written notation of Kim’s own translation of the songs into ASL appears in the video as vertically scrolling text, evoking a teleprompter.

The work connects strongly with other threads in Kim’s practice, including the notion of the echo, which she has used to express the repetitions of communication that occur when speaking through a sign language interpreter or using a text app on a phone. The video also reflects the troubling circumstances around the broadcast of the signed Super Bowl performance. As Kim described in a New York Times op-ed published the following day, she was only fleetingly visible in the main broadcast, and even the ASL-dedicated online feed cut her performance short, as the camera pivoted away multiple times. In this way, Cues on Point is also a document of televisual absence, both in the specific case of Kim’s performance and more broadly in terms of Deaf representation in mass media.


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