Artist of the Week: Sarah and Joseph Belknap

Sarah and Joseph Belknap are Chicago based artists and educators who received their MFAs in Performance Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They have been collaborating with each other since 2008. Their exhibitions include: Our Findings From Spaceship Earth, Roxaboxen, Chicago; 2 of a Kind, LVL3, Chicago; Exchange, CAVE, Detroit, MI; Line of Site, Western Exhibitions, Chicago; IT’S GETTING HOT IN HERE, Chicago Artists’ Coalition; Romantic Notions, Los Caminos, St. Louis, Missouri; Video Night, Airplane, Brooklyn, New York; MDW Art Fair, Chicago.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. We are a couple that has been working as a collaboration for the past 5 years. We make work that looks at the way in which humans experience, mythologize, and explore the cosmos, science and our curiosity with the universe.

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What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We are currently working on a few projects. One of the series is of Moon Skins – We stare at the moon, return to our studio and (competitively) carve what we remember seeing. These carvings are covered with silicone and peeled off creating inverted moon skins. We are also playing with a video and performance series that looks at elongated moments in time – specifically pieces involving meteorite falls and NASA’s mission control celebratory reactions after successful missions.

What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue? We are watching “How the Universe Works” over and over. We usually watch shows when it is way too late at night and often fall asleep. We have dreams about this show as well as “The Cosmos”.

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If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? We make art that is the love child between science and wonder.

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What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? We are material and methods zealots. We consider each new process and material as an expansion of our ability to communicate in new languages. We love working with silicones, plastics, fiberglass, wood, etc. We do a lot of research and compile all of our findings on a blog as well as in documents. Our process is researched based but chews it up and spits it out until we can get back to play and gesture. We utilize video, photography, and performance and will often use them as a foundation for larger installation and sculptural works.

What is your snack/beverage of choice when working in your studio? Whiskey and sardines.

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What do you do when you’re not working on art? We recently bought a ping pong table and are avid players. For our anniversary we were given ping pong paddles with our pictures printed on them and we love them dearly. We also love to cook and make our own ginger beer and cheese.

What are you really excited about right now? In December we are going to Iceland for a month long residency. We are studying the Aurora Borealis and we should be just in time to experience the sun’s magnetic poles reverse.

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Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? In October we will be in a group show at A+D Gallery organized by Sara Black and Karsten Lund titled Imperfect Symmetry and in November we have a 2 person show with Christine Gray at O’Connor Gallery of Art at Dominican University, curated by Angela Bryant. We will also be running an interactive workshop at the MCA in November as part of their PLAY program organized by Michael Green.

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What are you listening to right now? Os Mutantes and Rihanna.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? This is both one of our best and worst reactions.

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