Marissa Benedict

“I am struck by a world that appears increasingly malleable with each new tool we manufacture and technology we develop. I want to find the spaces where this perceived plasticity breaks, and where the virtual becomes fragile and physical: the places where the sun’s UV rays agitate and embrittle polyethylene bonds; the chambers where atmospheric gases are collected and recorded; the sites where the digital world’s dependence on natural resources and human labor is revealed. I want to sniff out the moments where the pre-baked system falls apart. I want to feel where the infrastructural joinery is weak, searching for the cracks in the mortar and the gaps in the cables that allow for the insertion of new conduits and strange loops. There is risk involved in in exposing vulnerabilities, and in being vulnerable: to encounter, to exchange and to unexpected reaction.

My artistic practice is one of observation, of engagement, of instigation, of aesthetic experimentation. I am invested in the specific, the personal, the micro, searching for singular or simple gestures that resonate across complex networks. I strive to actively embody the “Public Amateur,” as proposed by artist, writer and activist Claire Pentecost: a role assumed by the artist when they become “…a person who consents to learn in public … empowered to take the initiative to question something within a given discipline, acquire knowledge… and assume the authority to interpret that knowledge.”[1] The Public Amateur is someone motivated by curiosity, wonder and a sense of criticality. The Public Amateur is a lover, a learner and a destabilizing force in the world” (CCANW).

Marissa’s work was exhibited at White Moose as part of Soil Culture: Young Shoots from 16 April – 4 June 2016. The exhibition showed the work she produced during her 10-day Soil Culture residency at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter.