About / CV



Perfectly still objects make me restless. They make me itch and fidget(1), irritated. I made still objects once: out of clay and plaster, wire and wood. They had scales or skins or trunk-like protrusions, but they did not move at all like a living thing. I started watering them to see if they would grow, but they only became more and more still.

I began making lists of ways these objects might move if they were able, attributing gestures, rhythms, and expressions which reflected my construction process. These lists became instruction manuals or recipes which one could follow to build their own variations. Multiplicity—or the potential for multiplicity—is important to me, like obsession, repetition, precision, symmetry.

I am attracted to objects with absurd functionalities, designed for oddly specific scenarios(2). I demonstrate these functionalities as instructional performances. Using either a series of recorded audio commands or an invented notation system appropriate for the scenario at hand, these progressions of gestures, movements, sounds, or object alterations are often performed through community participation: objects for the paranoid and contagious, objects for the overly eager and underprepared, objects for the outwardly evil and upwardly mobile. I rigorously linger in the gap between the musicality of instruction of the theatricality of the mundane.

I created Sprechgesang(3) Institute (S.I.), a research-based platform for artists working in an in-between language of two or more disciplines. The fourteen members of S.I. include visual artists, scientists, journalists, composers, cooks, writers, and activists, committed to upsetting the routines within our respective fields. I direct collaborative lectures, workshops, sculptural dinners, and performances to facilitate discussion of the unexpected parallels between seemingly disparate practices. The structures of these performances borrow from other field’s systems of organization and conventions, highlighting the idiosyncrasies which evolve within different lines of work.


1. like a high-necked wool sweater
2. scrub-brushes for cleaning sponges, How-To guides for under-watering plants, pitch identifications for chopping vegetables, etc.
3. Sprechgesang describes a vocal technique half-way between speaking and singing. This term has become the root of my practice, as the intersection of two or more forms of expression to create a third.



CV:

Sarah K Williams

lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
sarahkwilliams.com / sprechgesanginstitute.com

Education

2017 Universität der Künste, Institute for New Music, Berlin, Germany
Fulbright Research grant in alternative notation and experimental theater

2014 MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Painting / Fiber and Material Studies

2010 BA, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Fine Arts / Art History, Highest Honers

Selected Performances and Exhibitions

2018 Orchestra of Obsessions and Dissatisfactions, studios at MASS MoCA
2018 Art & Art History Alumnae Exhibition, The College of Williams and Mary, VA
2018 Pierrot Luniare: Amalgama (co-set designer with Katie Bell), Mise-en-Place, NYC
2017 The Pitting, Universität der Künst, Berlin Germany
2017 Exteriors, Universität der Künst, Berlin Germany
2017 Found Sound Research Orchestra, Urania, Berlin Germany
2017 Together With (Hyperlink), The Bubbler, Madison Wi
2017 Together With (Hyperlink), Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver CO
2016 Marburg: a 5-Minute Musical, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
2016 Sprechgesang (solo exhibition) HERE Arts Center, NYC
2015 The Longest Distance Between Two Places, Hyperlink Gallery, Chicago, IL
2014 Luminarts Cultural Foundation, Chicago IL
2014 Hole in the Wall, Good News Only, 6018 North, Chicago IL
2014 Tracing Affinities, Sulivan Galleries, Chicago IL
2013 The History of Weather (with Ashley Williams), Gildar Gallery, Denver CO

SPRECHGESANG INSTITUTE (founder and director of collaborative project)

2019 Courses: An Experimental Dining Event, (co-organized with Sara Clugage), upcoming
2018 Sprechgesang Institute Vol. 1, collections at Institute of Contemporary Art Baltimore
2018 Asterims (exhibition co-curated with Christopher Lin), Hercules Art Space, NYC
2018 Extended Techniques a performative lecture, Target Margin Theater, Brooklyn, NY
2017 Mid-Sized Creatures, Guineastraße, Berlin Germany

Residencies, Awards, and Fellowships

2019 Vermont Studio Center / Fellowship, Johnson VT
2018 Artists in the Market Place at The Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx NY
2018 Studios at MASS MoCA, North Adams MA
2018 Fiscal Sponsorship with New York Foundation for the Arts for Sprechgesang Institute
2017 Theater Magdeburg research residency, Magdeburg Germany
2016-2017 Fulbright Research Fellowship in Sculpture, Berlin Germany
2014-2015 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Brooklyn NY
2013 Ox-Bow Artist Residency Program, Saugatuck MI
2013 James Nelson Raymond Fellowship Grant, SAIC Chicago IL
2013 Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Grant, Chicago IL
2012-2014 Trustee Full Tuition MFA Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2012 Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship Grant, SAIC Chicago IL

Lectures and Work Experience

2018 Artist Lecture, Parsons, The New School, NYC
2018 Performative Lecture: Flavors and Scents in Asterisms, NYC
2018 Visiting Curator / Artist, Residency Unlimited, NYC
2016 Set Builder with LoftOpera, Brooklyn NYC
2014 Scenic Painter with Chelsea Opera, NYC
2014 Artist Lecture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL