Close Readings 2015, listen


In the movie “The Little Mermaid” the powerful King Triton is protective and authoritarian towards his daughter Ariel; while she, like any teenager, has a strong desire to go beyond impositions. Her curiosity obviously falls into what is most banned: the world emerged. When Ariel falls in love with the human Eric, she is ready to give up everything, including her own voice, the only memory Eric has about her. In an alien world, voice becomes the essential element of recognition and, in some ways, of acceptance. “The Little Mermaid” is one of Christine Sun Kim‘s favourite films: an artist born deaf and now become one of the most sought-after experimenters in the world of sound design. Kim, in art Csk, just like Ariel, chose to go out of her world and enter into the world of sounds, learning its language in order to see and translate it into other forms. In Close Readings Cks has selected five movie scenes (among them “The Little Mermaid” of course) and invited a group of deaf friends to provide suggestions on sounds that they think would be added to the movie. For deaf people, the experience of watching a movie is related to the way it’s subtitled: the overall sound effects and ambient sounds are reduced to short captions that, in fact, lose their complexity. In Close Readings this path is inverted; the images blurred by half, leave space for enriched subtitles that invite the viewer (hearing) to live the movie with the eyes and the fantasies of the deaf. Benedetta Sabatini


Christine Sun Kim: A New Way to Listen


The Enchanting Music of Sign Language | Christine Sun Kim