My parenting vocabulary is thick with cues, commands, or consequences related to listening. How many times a day do I ask my preschoolers, “Are you listening?” But Christine Sun Kim’s artwork makes not hearing beautiful. In her most recent installation, “Game of Skill 2.0,” at PS1 in New York, the audience has to walk along the path to power a console that is voicing her text about the future. Your speed and direction impacts the sound. In the video documentation below, the person with a child on his shoulders trying to hear Kim’s thoughts on the future of New York City seems like a poetic picture of my life.
Her artwork reminds me how much I strive to know what’s going on and cover up what I lack. Elongating the moment when you don’t understand (or hear), her artwork transforms emptiness into something worth relishing. In other words, she courageously makes what you don’t have (a loss, a failure, brokenness, etc.) beautiful. This is the kind of art I want in my family’s life.