Brilliant A

Brilliant A (2022) shares the history of how the pitch “A:440Hz,” was set for tuning most modern instruments in orchestras and how the pitch has been set continually upwards due to human auditory preferences for “brighter sounds” in Europe and the US.

The work further reconstructs the speculative moment when the standard pitch A was introduced in Korea. The delivery process of a piano is recreated based on historical materials from the early 20th century that recorded the first piano that was brought to the city of Daegu by an American missionary.

The piano’s arrival ushered in significant modifications to the theories and tastes of sound instilled in Koreans’ auditory perceptions at the time, triggering the various acoustic collisions that arose as the ear for traditional music gave way to the ear for Western sounds. Through this recreation, the work explores the symbolic significance of the Western piano that brought in the pitch “A” into Korean society.

  • YoungEun Kim
  • YoungEun Kim
  • Bonggu Park
  • Jiwon Lee
  • Sigu Lee
    Key Cast
  • David Cardona
  • Eugene Kim
    Music Arrangement
  • Nam Yoon Kim
    Sound Mixing and Effect
  • YoungEun Kim
  • YoungEun Kim
    Sound Design
  • Soohee Yun
    Field Recording
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 8, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Country of Filming:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Language:
    English, Korean
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Frames of Sound [Solo Exhibition]
    Korea, Republic of
    July 8, 2022
    World Premiere
  • Jecheon International Music & Film Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    August 11, 2023
    Official Competition - Korean Short Winner
  • Image Forum Festival
    September 30, 2023
    International Premiere
    Official Selection - East Asian Experimental Competition
  • Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
    Czech Republic
    October 9, 2023
    European Premiere
    Official Selection - Short Joy competition
Director Biography - YoungEun Kim

YoungEun Kim’s work examines the history of sound, focusing on how the history of modernization and colonialism has shaped our aural perception centering around Asia and the Asian diasporic community. She studied Art at Hongik University and the Korea National University of Arts, Sonology at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague in the Netherlands. She was an artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern, Switzerland; Samsung Museum of Art, Korea; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, USA; and many others. She has been awarded at Prix Ars Electronica and SongEun Art Award.

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Director Statement

I was interested in examining the meaning of the piano in modern Korea, not only as a sounding object but also as a discoursively loaded object in which culture and politics intersect.