Born 1981, in Thuringowa, Australia Lives and works in Sydney, Australia; New York, United States; and London, United Kingdom Dutch
Sarah Houbolt is a Paralympian turned international circus and physical theatre performer, entertainer and activist. Her award-winning work includes championing disability arts narratives and history, reclaiming the freak show and exploring aesthetics of access. Her speaking engagements include Festival of Dangerous Ideas, TEDxSydney and the United Nations in New York. Sarah is a thought leader and provocateur and investigates multisensory creative responses according to her unique experience.
“My body is not the same as yours. When we walk down the street, I doubt we’ll have the same experience of walking down the street. But we each have something to offer in communicating our version. Do we ever stop to really talk about it? How do I really know I’m different to you? Am I? We are all human. Let me tell you the story of my own journey, in the heart of our city, from the National Art School to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to Artspace and my attempt to get back again.
“I must tell you, I’m a bird girl. I’m better at flying around the world, swinging from the trapeze blindfolded, than walking around the streets. I venture to São Paulo, London, New York and all around the world, but I can’t tell you what each place really looks like, only how they feel, sound like, sensorially and culturally, from my body’s perspective.
“I have made an audio work for the Biennale of Sydney. To make it, I felt the energy of the traffic, the silence of bystanders, the weight of an institutional past, the memory of water over my body in a swimming pool, the awe of beauty and the pain of never really knowing where I am. What does it mean for us to really notice? Is it perhaps that I notice more than sighted people? Sometimes I think so.
“This is a podcast that explores a multi-sensory approach to navigation, curiosity, and imagination. I touched and smelled and wondered about all the landmarks that I passed by. The Australian Museum, the Cook and Philip Park Pool, St Mary’s Church, Frazer Memorial Fountain, Robert Burns memorial, the Police Wall of Remembrance. I took my key to the City of Sydney from being part of the Australian Paralympic Team to see if it would fit anywhere. I asked myself, ‘what would life have been like for an outcast, a misfit across time and space, in the place which we now know as Sydney’s inner city? Have our stories been recorded? Are we known? Or are we lost to private asylum records?’ This is a story about what it means to be just one contemporary human, in a sea of blurry people on a not-so-even path. This is not about walking in my shoes, they won’t fit you, I’m a size three. Don’t take a blindfold or shut your eyes to experience it, just join me on my side of the street. Let’s walk together.”