Sara Giannini is an independent researcher, curator, teacher and writer based in Amsterdam. Informed by her background in theatre studies and semiotics, she is drawn towards the interlinking of language and performativity across a variety of (artistic) practices, contexts and disciplines. Her engagement with the curatorial emerges from the desire to support and facilitate interstitial thinking, liminality and “transvestism” as a methodology.
After her MA in Semiotics from the University of Bologna (cum laude), she worked as curator, researcher and editor for the research programme Global Art and the Museum at the ZKM | Karlsruhe (2010-2014), while from 2012 till 2015 she held the position of artistic coordinator of the traveling research group OuUnPo | Ouvroir d’Univers Potentiels.
As an independent curator she has initiated and developed long-term projects in close dialogue with artists and practitioners in different fields, in and out of conventional art contexts. Long-term projects include the VOLUME project, a series of artistic interventions in Beirut public libraries curated in collaboration with 98weeks (2013-2014), the web-publishing and archiving platform Unfold (2015-ongoing), and the independent curatorial initiative Heterotropics, commissioning projects that reflect on the after-lives of colonial desire in different urban and cultural landscapes (2016-ongoing). In 2016/17 she was a research fellow at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, researching aphasic language in relation to the archive of the Dutch artist René Daniëls. The fellowship resulted in OWNNOW: René Daniëls, an exhibition and a performance series for one spectator conceived with artists Mercedes Azpilicueta and Stav Yaini.
Her projects have taken place in institutional settings, urban contexts, online platforms and independent project spaces, including Jumex Museum, Mexico City; documenta 14, Athens; the Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle São Paulo and Casa do Povo, São Paulo; de Appel, Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; 98weeks, Mansion, Assabil Public Libraries, Beirut; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; PrintRoom, Rotterdam; to name a few.
She has lectured internationally, as well as contributed to a variety of books and catalogues. Most recently, she co-authored the book Whispering Catastrophe. On the Language of Men Loving Men in Japan in collaboration with artist Jacopo Miliani, forthcoming for SelfPleasurePublishing (fall 2018).
Since 2017 she is part of the core tutor team of the course offered by the Amsterdam organization If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution at the Dutch Art Institute | Roaming Academy. In 2017 she was also a visiting tutor and curator at the MA Artistic Research at KABK, Den Haag, and an advisor at Das Theatre in Amsterdam.
Taking its cue from the teaching module “Opera Corruption,” taught at the DAI | Roaming Academy together with artist Pauline Curnier Jardin in 2017/18, opera and the gesamtkunstwerk will be the focus of her fellowship at CCS Bard in the fall 2018. Under the working title “Opera Club: The Gesamtkunstwerk Against the Grain,” the research aims to reassess the idea of totality as an ecstatic experience of boundary-crossing, of standing outside, transcending one’s own (body) limits. In this sense both the gesamtkunstwerk and the night club are addressed as diagrams of thought to explore ecstasy as a potential curatorial category.
This residency was made possible through the support of Mondriaan Fonds.