As our planet warms at a record-breaking pace and catastrophic weather increases, Christine Sun Kim asks, "What might rising temperatures sound like?" Kim explores this question using familiar communication systems such as musical scores, graphs, and American Sign Language (ASL), challenging the authority of spoken over signed language. Kim has said of the genesis of this artwork:
"I conceptualized The Sound of Temperature Rising while pregnant with my first child, during a stretch when I felt hot all the time and couldn’t sleep very well. This was also during the rise of Donald Trump and the heated political atmosphere he brought with him. Persistent droughts, floods, and storms were marking the effects of climate change and a warming world. I felt these different kinds of rising temperatures intertwining, and used an open-ended musical notation to capture the feeling. When I draw musical staff lines, I use four lines instead of the standard five, which references how staff bars would be signed in ASL, as four fingers pulled across the front of the body. . . . I want the scale to actively impose Deaf people’s existence and culture into the everyday lives of hearing people."