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Trent Kim

MPhil work

Lumia: Expressive Silence of Light in Hybrid Art Forms

Lumia is an early 20th century art form founded, and claimed as the eighth fine art, by Thomas Wilfred. Wilfred was a Danish born American artist whose legacy has largely been acknowledged in a series of his automated Lumia works in galleries. Lumia's original aesthetics of light have inspired a number of artists in the field of light sculpture, visual music and light show. Lumia is arguably used as an adjective to describe a particular style of light display that realises caustic effects, or gives an impression of caustic.

In his last radio interview (1968), Wilfred confirmed Lumia as a silent performance of light in a concert hall, but the lack of documentation on his performed Lumia offers a critical opportunity to be re-investigated in understanding the true value of this new art movement of the time.

Lumia is the primary case study in this research, and Trent Kim proposes aesthetics of caustic through light and host-parasite media ecology as two main findings in his literature/practice review around Lumia, and he questions 'How does the medium of light make itself irreducible in a hybrid art form?'

As a practice-led research, Trent Kim approaches this question by documenting his process of creating 'live caustic art,' and also through studying and experimenting different ways for light to parasite host media: the seven fine arts.


  • MPhil


    School of Communication


    Animation, 2015–

  • Trent Kim's research and art practices primarily revolve around his concept of Abstract Light. From text, image to illumination, his artistic ideas vary and appear in diverse formats. His current research project at the Royal College of Art undertakes a comprehensive case study on the art of Lumia by Thomas Wilfred, and investigates its materiality (Caustic Art) and media ecology (The Host-Parasite) to critically study its undocumented poeticity.

    His research paper: Demystifying Body in Lumia was recently presented at Seeing Sound 2016 at Bath Spa university.

    Trent Kim welcomes collaboration proposals from music composers, theatre directors, choreographers, painters, sculptors, poets and architects.

  • Degrees

  • PG Cert Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, 2016; MRES Creative Practices, Glasgow School of Art, 2013; MA Advanced Stage and Screen Practices, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland, 2006; BA Stage Management and Theatre Production, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland, 2005