SI ONLINE | Sable Elyse Smith:


October 26, 2020 - January 14, 2022

Language is a circular shape around us
It has legs and sounds and blows and silences
Do you know this?
It is a brick pulling out another brick and
toppling down on top of itself
Only to be built back up again
Do you know this?
I think we are talking now
We might as well. (be)
We are all standing here in this room
Fixing our mouths to say together

“Swiss Institute is pleased to present FEAR TOUCH POLICE, a new multimedia project
organized by New York-based artist Sable Elyse Smith. Conceived in the early months of the
pandemic in the United States, FEAR TOUCH POLICE takes the form of a digital magazine that
will unfold across three issues over the next year, culminating in a vinyl mixtape. Drawing from
the artist's sustained interest in invoking popular media as a method to critically examine
societal systems and structures, Smith's project is both a constellation of the work of friends,
collaborators and influences, and a temporal experiment. Transposed from the browser to the
record player, FEAR TOUCH POLICE is a mutable audiovisual collage that culminates in an
opportunity to slow down and listen.
FEAR TOUCH POLICE is the second of a three-part collaboration with Smith that commenced
in September 2020 with the installation of her sculpture, BACKBEND, on SI’s roof terrace. Smith
is curating the 6th edition of SI’s Architecture and Design Series in January 2022, with a focus
on the relationship between carceral design, intimacy, play and confinement. This digital project
functions as a thematic bridge between Smith’s sculptural installation and her curated exhibition,
providing unique insight into Smith’s curatorial process and artistic instincts.
The magazine’s first issue, FEAR, launches on October 26th and features newly commissioned
writing by Jessica Lynne and Jason Moran, video works by Paul Pfeiffer and Johan Grimonprez,
and a poem by Jibade-Khalil Huffman. When inviting these five contributors, Smith encouraged
them to contemplate Kendrick Lamar’s song of the same name off his 2017 album DAMN. The
time signature, sonic textures, melodies and lyrical content woven throughout Lamar’s
masterpiece create a portal to explore an emotion that courses through a world on the brink.
Visitors to the site will encounter the restorative power of Alice Coltrane, a history of airplane
hijackings, a one-sided boxing match, deadpan romances, and a musical free dive on stage with
one of jazz’s most legendary saxophonists. FEAR presents an evocative synthesis of music,
tension and release.
The second issue, TOUCH, and the third issue, POLICE, will launch in April 2021 and
November 2021, respectively. To visit the website, please visit or
enter through SI’s homepage.
Sable Elyse Smith wishes to thank: the whole hood + each contributor and the team”