Closer Look: Closed Caption

Event Description

Have you ever wondered what [mysterious sound] is like? Does it feel… mysterious?

As a designer with severe bilateral hearing loss, So A Ryu has a love-hate relationship with closed captioning. The more she hated it, the more love she put into figuring out how it could be better. Taking inspiration from her current relationship with sound and text, she took a step further to reimagine it spatially, to the beat, pictorially, and sequentially.

Box office hits carefully combine beautiful mise-en-scene and cinematography, into immersive audiovisual experiences, yet closed captions are simply added at the last second. We have normalized how little is conveyed with closed captions. It is so much more than just on-screen dialogue. The [spooky sound] isn’t spooky for them - where is the punch? The drama! Creeping sadness...As a semi-hearing person, So A Ryu learned to value and prioritize the hearing focused world in her design, and expected that from other work. She started to challenge this behavior when she, a hard of hearing individual, felt like she couldn’t be 100% her. It became more and more important for her to explore her particular relationship with sound, celebrating the way sound is not lacking or in translation, but just is. So A Ryu wants to experience sound specifically designed for people like her.

Closed captioning should be accessible, curated to the content it responds to. What does that look like? Can you imagine a film where close captioning takes on another expression in which it makes our experience richer? So A Ryu hasn't seen it so she is setting out to create it. For this to happen it takes more than one designer. This is a call to those who think differently, welcome challenges, and are ready to strip what they know and revisit it from the ground up.

Note: Our ticket fees support operation fees, speaker stipends, student awards, and other free programming for our creative community. If you are unable to afford a ticket at this time and would like to attend, we want to accommodate you. Please reach out to with any questions or concerns.

The link to the Zoom conference will be sent out to you via email a day before the event and again the afternoon before the the event.


About So A Ryu

So A Ryu is an award-winning designer, illustrator & creative director specializing in illustrative storytelling. So A’s unique relationship with sound is rooted in her experience with mid to severe bilateral hearing loss. So A particularly finds influence from work that challenges the traditional sense of design: beyond the grid and in the multisensorial world.

What began as an experimental typographic play after feeling limited by the current state of closed captioning, turned into a year-long research project that challenges the status quo of the current representation of sound-based information on the screen. So A hopes through this project, more people will pay attention to the way we perceive sound-based information and expand how they are represented on the screen, where form and function coalesce.



Event Schedule

7:00–7:05 p.m. CST: Attendees arrive

7:05–7:10 p.m. CST: Introduction

7:15–7:45 p.m. CST: Presentation

7:45–8:00 p.m. CST: Q&A


Code of Conduct

By registering to attend this event, you agree to abide by AIGA Chicago Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct may be found here.


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Special thanks to Michael Vaughn Green and Jen Lemerand for planning this event .

When & Where
Mon, Nov 16, 2020 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM CST