To Future Listeners I

To Future Listeners I (2022) is a digital performance video that traces sounds from the past. It starts with a contemplation of ethnographic recordings produced by American anthropologists in the late 19th century who used phonographs to record the music and language of endangered indigenous peoples.

The song in the video is Love Song: Ar-ra-rang 1 recorded on a wax cylinder in 1896 by American anthropologist Alice Fletcher, who requested its performance by three Korean students in Washington at the time. This was apparently the first example in the history of Korean traditional music being captured with a recording medium.

A wax cylinder is frail and sensitive to environmental conditions, and thus the sounds recorded on its wax surface tend to disappear into noise over time. In the video, I repeatedly use a noise reduction plugin to keep the noise down from the song while gradually progressing toward the past. The process allows the song to play more clearly but after being perceived as noise by the software, it becomes more fragmented in an acoustic sense.

The narration was partially adapted from the Sound Studies scholar Jonathan Sterne’s essay.

  • YoungEun Kim
  • YoungEun Kim
  • YoungEun Kim
  • YoungEun Kim
    Sound Design
  • YoungEun Kim
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    8 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 8, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Country of Filming:
    Korea, Republic of, United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Frames of Sound [Solo Exhibition]
    Korea, Republic of
    July 8, 2022
    World Premiere
  • Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul
    Korea, Republic of
    July 22, 2023
    Official Selection - Korean Competition
  • Asian American International Film Festival [Exhibition Section]
    New York
    United States
    July 28, 2023
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Jecheon International Music & Film Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    August 11, 2023
    Official Selection
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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