Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2012-13

(Chicago, IL)Benjamin Bellas

Project Description

My project is a continuous 16-hour performance. For my work I will fly round trip from La Guardia to JFK airport. In order to do so I will be traveling to Atlanta, Chicago, both, or other alternative cities to make the necessary connecting flights. With this performance I am interested in the absurdity of existing systems, and the ways in which they may be undermined through simple intervention. Through the process of the performance I anticipate heightened scrutiny from the TSA arising from the curiousness of my travel itinerary, my constant use of photo and video equipment throughout, and lack of any luggage. My belief is that this may lead to extended searches, delays, and other forms of monitoring. The innocuousness of my gesture will be juxtaposed against the way in which current security systems evaluate what is threatening behavior. In this way I hope to reveal something about the unseen cognitive process at work within our highly secretive surveillance-based society.


Benjamin Bellas stages subtle interventions and gestures within the everyday in an attempt to understand the experience of understanding: cognition itself. Bellas has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of an Illinois Art Council International Artist Grant, and has been awarded residencies at Redux Contemporary Art Center, 1a space, and the Contemporary Artists Center. He holds a BA in Studio Arts with minors in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.