Beginning in Spring 2021, Amber Ginsburg (Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago), Sara Black (Department of Sculpture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Samantha Frost (Department of Political Science and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) engage in a two-year collaborative art project called Untidy Objects. At the center of this project is a multi-sensory living sculpture, through which the collaborators aim to capture the relationship between a living subject and its world.
Sara Black’s work uses conscious processes of carpentry, wood-working, and craft as a time-based method; diseased or effected wood, inherited building materials or other exhausted objects as material; and creates works that exposes the complex ways in which beings and things are suspended in worlds together; often generating forms that intend to push beyond human frames of reference. Within her practice she works both individually and collaboratively, most recently with artists Amber Ginsburg, and with the collectives Deep Time Chicago and Project Fielding. Sara is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Chair of the department. She has given talks and presented workshops at the MassArt, Harvard University, the Museum of Contemporary Art and more. Her work has been exhibited in a variety of spaces including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin, the Thailand Biennial, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, The Smart Museum of Art, Gallery 400, Threewalls; Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft; New York’s Park Avenue Armory and Eyebeam; Boston’s Tuft University Gallery; Minneapolis' Soap Factory; Cleveland's SPACES and more.
Samantha Frost is Professor in the Department of Political Science, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines how our ideas about embodiment shape our understanding of political subjectivity. She is the author of Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics (Stanford UP, 2008), which received The First Book Award from the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association. Frost co-edited, with Diana Coole, the volume New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke UP 2010). She also recently published Biocultural Creatures: Towards a New Theory of the Human (Duke UP 2016), which elaborates thinking derived from second discipline training in molecular and cellular biology made possible by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship (2010-11). Frost recently served as Faculty Fellow and Director of the Biohumanities Research Initiative (2016-18), a project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and hosted by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (now known as the Humanities Research Institute). Her current project is tentatively titled The Attentive Body.
Amber Ginsburg creates site-generated projects and social sculptures that insert historical scenarios into present day situations, as well as engages present day histories to imagine alternative futures. Her background in craft orients her projects toward the continuities and ruptures in material and social histories. Often working with long-term collaborators, together they engage multiple communities and elicit working relationships with experts in the fields of botany, political activism, biology, legal scholarship and activism, and science fiction. Always interested in history, more recently, she has been drawn to imagined futures. Amber teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago and shows broadly including the Thailand Biennale, The Bristol Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Craft and Design, various sidewalks, and empty lots, to name a few.