YoungEun Kim
Selected Works
Work List

Guns and Flowers

Horn speakers, speaker stands, amplifier, sound
Sound: 4 min loop
Dimensions variable

This work examines the DMZ loudspeaker wall's transmissions from the South Korean border into North Korea and the bizarre sensation underlying the transmissions.
According to several news articles and interviews on the event, the transmissions of propaganda had been heard as far as 24km from the loudspeaker wall. This action by South Korea disgruntles the North, instigating the latter to demand respect for its distressed soldiers. Furthermore, North Korean refugees themselves have stated that the broadcasts were ineffective and simply annoying. The contents of the broadcasts included: information about South Korea, the reality of North Korean society, weather forecasts, and popular South Korean songs having nothing much to do with ideological propaganda.

I focus my attention on the fact that everyday, popular love songs can be engineered for use as an anxiety-inducing weapon against foreign peoples. I also reflect here on the mechanisms of listening. Vibrating air is perceived as a tactile sensation with its source of energy working remotely to beat one’s eardrum—just as a bullet shot from a distance has a physical effect on its target. What interests me is the use of song as a psychological, auditory, and tactile device that reveals this sensory network by means of fear. What is also unveiled is the contradiction between purpose and method. Through sculptural method and listening, I sought to recreate the event of experiencing song used as a bullet of sonic warfare.

The dominant frequencies of audible sound are heard intermittently or felt as vibrations to people in distance. These resemble a dense mass or sharp thorn when represented visually on an acoustic spectrogram. I gathered the shapes that emerged out of a particular love song, and cut out and reproduced white and pink noise. Then lastly, I reconstituted these as rhythms. These fragmented sounds, in contrast to the full emotions of love songs, kindle a scorching tactility.


#1-5 Installation View at SongEun Art Space, Seoul (Photo by Jaebum Kim & YoungEun Kim)

Guns and Flowers : Sculpted two love songs #19
Horn speakers, amplifier, sound
Sound: 5 min (2:45 min playback, 2:45 min silence)
15” x 15” x 13” for each    
Dimensions variable
Installation View at Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles (Photo by Ruben Diaz)  

1 min 23 sec Video Documentaion