American Sign Language (ASL) and la Langue des Signes Quebecoise (LSQ) (Part Two)

Developing an Understanding:

In this TED talk, artist Christine Sun Kim invites viewers to “open our eyes and ears and participate in the rich treasure of visual language”. Kim was born deaf and through her art, she discovered similarities between American Sign Language and music, realizing that sound can be felt, seen and experienced in different ways (TED, 2015).

“So, it's amazing to see how ASL is alive and thriving, just like music is. However, in this day and age, we live in a very audio-centric world. And just because ASL has no sound to it, it automatically holds no social currency. We need to start thinking harder about what defines social currency and allow ASL to develop its own form of currency -- without sound. And this could possibly be a step to lead to a more inclusive society. And maybe people will understand that you don't need to be deaf to learn ASL, nor do you have to be hearing to learn music.

ASL is such a rich treasure that I'd like you to have the same experience. And I'd like to invite you to open your ears, to open your eyes, take part in our culture and experience our visual language. And you never know, you might just fall in love with us” (Sun Kim, 2015).

Christine Sun Kim

Christine Sun Kim

Artist Christine Sun Kim, who has been deaf since birth, connects sound to drawing, painting, and performance in her practice.


In developing her own visual language, Kim explores elements from various information systems and combines aspects of graphic and musical notation, body language and American Sign Language (ASL). She uses these systems as a way to expand communication and to invent a grammar and structure for her artistic compositions.


Her performance work is central to her art practice, and often provides the starting point for artworks on paper. Kim uses a wide variety of props, including the iPad, transducers, and audio speakers, piano wires, helium balloons, and her own breath and a whole range of sounds, vibrations and frequencies come into play (Carroll & Fletcher, n.d.).