“Do you have a song that reminds you of your childhood?”


“Could you hum it for me?”


Silver City is humming, and an artist collective, organized and led by Dr. Suk-Jun Kim, professor of Sound Art at Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts (IDEA), is collecting these hummings for a public sound installation project called Silver City Humming.


Silver City Humming is an artistic exploration of Silver City and its people. Usually, we try to understand a place and its people through various scientific and sociological tools. “But I, being a composer and sound artist, feel that it is the sounds the place and its people make that tell us what the place is and who these people are—more importantly, how they have become what they are now,” says Dr. Kim. “I have always been interested in the relationship between people and place and how people’s memory plays a role. Most of my compositions concern our experiences in real and imaginary places, and particularly, my installations attempt to address how we re-materialize and re-occupy places that are in memory.”


But then, the question would be: what are those sounds in Silver City that tell us what it is? For Silver City Humming, the artist collective (Dr. Suk-Jun Kim and IDEA students) is interviewing people in Silver City and asking them to hum one song that reminds them of their childhood. The collective has also created a blog (https://silvercityhumming.wordpress.com/) and writes about their engagement with Silver City and its people, their observations and thoughts that might emerge during the activities. There is a page on the blog called “Humming a Day”. Here you can listen to the humming that people offered each day.


Silver City Humming is a public sound installation, and all of my IDEA students have never done a public installation, let alone public sound installation,” says Dr. Kim. “I already hear a lot of enthusiasm from our students who are a part of the artist collective. This will be an excellent opportunity for them to engage in a public art that uses sound as its medium. Moreover, this is a community project at its heart. We are collecting people’s humming and present it back to the community. This whole process, from the preplanning to the actual installation, invites people in Silver City to listen to the community.”


Collecting hummings will continue until the May, and the artist collective hopes to gather hummings from 300 or more people. Silver City Humming will be installed at the campus of WNMU and open to the public on September 7, Friday, 2012 (TBA on the detailed schedule). Silver City Humming is funded by the WNMU Faculty Research Grant and is an official event of New Mexico Centennial Commemoration. For more information about Silver City Humming, and if you want to participate in the project or offer your humming, please contact Dr. Suk-Jun Kim at kims@wnmu.edu or 575-583-6617.

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