Final Project Proposal for #soundartbrown

Working Title: [Kimchi Suite]

Project description: I would like to make a suite of recordings to be presented as a multi-channel sound installation to synthesize recent reflections on my Korean-American identity and family history. The recordings would include the following:

  • Kimchi piece: a multi-channel recording that immerses the viewer in the sounds of making and consuming kimchi. This piece explores the creation and consumption of Korean identity. I will focus on the following sounds: washing, chopping, mixing, fermentation, eating (cutting and chewing).

  • River piece: a recording of a poem about my grandfather’s experience of his family attempting to cross the Nakdong River while fleeing the Korean War.

  • Milk/ Calcium piece: a recording of a poem about my grandmother’s and mother’s experiences of motherhood and babyhood in the context of poverty.

  • Home piece: a recording of “고향의 봄” / “The Spring in My Home(town)” synthesized and modified through MAX MSP

Inspiration: Kimchi symbolizes Korean-identity in a consumable form. It’s a symbol of “Korean-ness.” In my family, eating kimchi every day or with every meal is a way to express and affirm Korean identity. When I was away at college, my mother would tease me that I wasn’t really Korean unless I had to eat kimchi every day. Yet, kimchi, as quintessential Korean cuisine, also makes Korean culture easily consumable. I want to present the sounds of kimchi alongside sounds and narratives that challenge easy consumption: family narratives of war and poverty (as slices of underrepresented Korean narratives of war and poverty) and craggy renditions of a song about a Korean home. I want to make and share the sounds of consumption while also highlighting the family narratives that I have consumed and view as important aspects of my own family’s Korean history. I also want to share my resistance to consuming and replicating hegemonic manifestations of Korean identity that require erasure and silencing.

Site: I would like to use a multi-channel sound installation for the recordings. If possible, I would like for the installation to require the listener to lean down or crouch over to listen to the sounds. Otherwise, I would like for the speakers to surround a stool installed in the center. If a multi-channel installation is not possible, I would like to create a web page from which the listener could experience the recordings within a “kimchi suite.”


  • Kimchi piece: napa cabbage, kosher salt, water, sweet rice flour, turbinado sugar, carrots, green onions, garlic cloves, ginger, onion fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, hot pepper flakes; glass jar; contact microphone; recorder; DAW

  • River piece: poem; voice; recorder; studio time; DAW

  • Milk/ Calcium piece: poem; voice; recorder; studio time; DAW

  • Home piece: recorder; studio time; dub siren; MAX MSP


  • 11/14-11/20: Make kimchi and initial field and recording recordings

  • 11/24-11/30: Make fermentation / eating recordings; begin editing kimchi piece, milk piece, and river piece using DAW; begin learning MAX MSP

  • 12/01-12/04: Continue editing kimchi piece, milk piece, and river piece; record home piece using MAX MSP

  • 12/04-12/07: Collect feedback for installation