Sable Elyse Smith


Support for ongoing work.


I am an interdisciplinary artist & writer. My practice considers memory and trauma while enacting an undoing of language. Through video, sculpture, images, and text I utilize the framework of self-portraiture to survey traces of trauma inscribed on the body. The title of a recent body of work, The Body Keeps the Score, comes from the book by Bessel van der Kolk of the same name, which studies the corporeal manifestations of trauma and stress. Using aerial views of prison complexes as a point of reference, I extract colors (blues in particular), demarcation lines, and other fragments that touch on the experience of visiting my father in various prisons over the past 19 years. The subsequent works examine and dismantle regulatory codes that are both embedded in the body yet deeply impersonal, creating a space where achieving normalcy begets an alien, unfamiliar presence and the slow palimpsest accumulation of everyday violence is rendered visible.

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