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Interrupteur Residency at University of Sheffield

Interrupteur holds both the notion of the interruption and the actual translated sense of the word – switch: as exchange, shift, or transformation.


Forging conversations and collaborations between artists and academics in the Humanities department was at the heart of the project’s endeavour. Rachel Smith as artist in residence was present in the foyer of the Jessop West building on selected dates, making work, collaborating with artists, and being interrupted by conversations and the unexpected encounter. 


Smith uses drawing, photography, and writing to explore the materiality of the peripheral details in the acts of reading, writing, and listening. The grasping action of finding sense in the face of the excesses of language sometimes pushes the work towards wordlessness. Gaps, voids, misunderstandings, and errors are opened in the work, containing the potentiality of that which has yet to happen. Producing these generative spaces allows room for other voices. These gaps in the practice may contain no visible language, but they are not empty – they possess a latent energy. These are the spaces inhabited by the other, the as-yet-unwritten, the as-yet-unread, the as-yet-unspoken, or the as-yet-unheard.


The residency hosted conversations, events, performances, staged dialogue, and even accidental occurrences. The project explored how artists might open spaces for dialogue and collaboration between and beyond expected outcomes, engaging across disciplines and inhabiting liminal and in-between spaces. In her occupation of the foyer at Jessop West, other artists moved through the space, stopping to collaborate, discuss, perform, and workshop ideas. 


Not-knowing, error and misrepresentation, hybridity, constraint and improvisation, were some of ideas explored during the conversations and work in progress during the residency.

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