The Flooded Materials was a mixed media installation and sound sculpture involving transducers, photographs, disintegrating sandstone, and used glass. Transducers, affixed to the panels of glass, played an array of field recordings from the New York Aquarium and other sites of relevance at low volumes, only discernible when heard in close proximity to the works.

A second area of the installation included a 12 minute looping video and series of photographs on newsprint. In the video, I am seen handling stacks of photographs hung throughout the installation. Throughout, I weave through a set of poetic associations tied to my research, focusing specifically on the damage to Coney Island caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2014 and the flooding of The Corning Museum of Glass in 1972.


Castle Clinton was a single channel video installation. The video traces my experiences in and around the construction site located at Castle Clinton, the National Monument located in Battery Park, New York. In 1946, due in large part to Robert Moses’ influence, the entire fort was demolished; only the sandstone walls remained.The video meditates on the material presence of this historical site and asks: how can one attempt to know or understand a place without relying on any archive or singular historical account?


In Transitional Objects, photographs, projections, and sounds were oriented around or within vitrine-like sculptural display cases. These “tables of contents” corresponded to sections of poetic prose broadly based on the history of the New York Aquarium. The vitrines were installed in the space according to the original architectural plans for this site. Viewers of the installation were invited to touch the printed images and move freely between the constellation of displayed parts.



Speech Forms was an evolving mixed media installation and series of dance performances utilizing sound, gesture, and drawing. Using the studio as a site, I covered the space in vinyl dance flooring and drew a phoneme-inspired map on which the dancers rehearsed. The drawing contains two circles, each of which has forty-four equidistant, color coded points around the circumference. Each point represents one of the forty-four phonetic sounds in American English. The circles’ interiors were filled with sand, a common material used in early childhood classrooms to facilitate multi-sensory learning and memory.

Responding to a diverse series of prompts and spoken scores, the dancers improvised between the corresponding series of speech-points to create sentences. The dancers taught one another new phrases as they moved through an intuitive process of mirroring and repetition.

Sarah Abarbanel is an artist and educator based in the Hudson Valley and received her MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in New York. Her interdisciplinary, research-oriented approach to subject matter includes sculpture, video, sound, and poetry. She is interested in the radical permeability of boundaries that constitute seemingly fixed subjects, and the ways in which trying to research, know, or understand any particular one can productively undermine these same pursuits.