On February 3, The Watermill Center in Water Mill welcomes its first round of 2021 artists-in-residence to its physical—and virtual—space, with its first-ever hybrid Artist Residency Program. While performance duo Brian Belott and Matthew Thurber will work on-premise and Kyoko Hamaguchi and Nicole Pasulka will be participate digitally, all will have access to the center’s expansive library, art collection and other resources; have the chance to network and collaborate with their fellow artists; and have support from staff as they develop their work.
Without further ado, let’s meet The Watermill Center’s February artists-in-residence.
Brian Belott and Matthew Thurber
NYC-based artists and performers Brian Belott and Matthew Thurber have worked together in one way or another since 2010—merging their interest in poetry, speech, glossolalia, improvisation, pranks, nonsense and the gestalt of eternity. They performed at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2016, as hosts of Belott’s People Pie Pool theater assemblage for Performa 2018, and they’ve deployed their disruptive and chaotic tradition of verbal babble beauty to dozens of galleries, performance venues and parties over the last decade.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity for truly deep monastic mind melding into our obsessive research. After working together for 10 years in fragmented situations, we will be able to really concoct in an alchemical focused way, a great work. We will have the opportunity to look at our project from different angles. We would never be able to focus in this productive, isolated way, in any other circumstance. We plan to work on a musical theatrical work (or OPERA?!?) about Rhoda Kellog, the patron saint of children’s scribbles, a Pre-K teacher who collected millions of examples of this work, and the Sphinx-like mystery of her Jungian search. First thing: We will make About 30,000 collaborative song scribbles. In off hours, becoming four-star chefs gracing each other with culinary scribbled eggworks.”
Hailing from Tokyo, Kyoko Hamaguchi is a conceptual mixed-media artist who lives and works in NYC. Her practice takes form in many different media including photography, sculpture and installation. A curator and award-winning artist, Hamaguchi has shown in numerous group exhibitions in New York and Japan, including at WhiteBox; in the SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2018, 2019 and 2020; at the Museum of Modern Art in Gunma; and at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. In 2020, she had her first solo exhibition at KOKI ARTS in Tokyo.
“Even though my residency will be virtual, I am looking forward to engaging with this multidisciplinary spirit and expanding my community. At the same time, I am excited to develop a new artwork that is related to the history of The Watermill Center…which was once a Western Union research lab where the first fax machine stylus was invented. In an early form of the fax machine, a scanning stylus would pick up an image and convert it to a signal that was sent to a receiving stylus in a different location. The receiving stylus would then convert the signal to a reproduction of the image. During my residency, I will research the specific stylus that was developed at The Watermill Center and its echoes in contemporary technologies of image transmission. As the result of the pandemic, we often have to communicate over long distances using technologies like video chat that are in fact descendants of earlier communication technologies including the fax machine. My project will explore this history and add to our understanding of the current moment.
Nicole Pasulka is a writer from Chicago, currently residing in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in Harper’s, New York, Mother Jones, The Believer and Oxford American. Pasulka has been a Google Journalism Fellow and received the I.F. Stone Award from the Nation Institute, now Type Media Center, and has a Master of Arts in Journalism from NYU.
“During my residency, I am planning to revise my first draft of a narrative nonfiction profile of the Brooklyn drag community to be published by Simon and Schuster, and I’m looking forward to (virtually!) meeting other artists and writers and learning more about their lives and work.”
Visit watermillcenter.org for updates on the upcoming In Process virtual studio visits with the artists.