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Marissa Lee Benedict & 
David Rueter
Sarah Rothberg

September 20 – October 16, 2016

University Galleries of Illinois State University


Featuring interactive installations by an individual artist and a collaborative duo, Placelessness transforms two galleries into immersive environments in which the viewer experiences an oscillation between their sense of actual and virtual space. Visitors entering Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter’s bedroom-sized telecom shelter Dark Fiber witness a video projection depicting a cinematic montage of the two artists dressed as laborers, laying an unauthorized fiber optic cable from the Pacific Ocean across the Western landscape, through Chicago, and, strangely enough, into the very telecom structure in which the viewer is sitting.

With its wall-to-wall shag rug, an old swivel chair, a CRT television, and a virtual reality headset with sound, Sarah Rothberg’s installation is immersive to the point of disorientation. Wearing VR goggles, visitors are transported out of the family-room-furnished space into an encapsulating collage-like representation of the artist’s childhood home. Their ability to control their exploration through an unusual environment—created by compositing digital 3-D models with old family photographs and VHS home movies—affords viewers an experience not unlike a lucid dream.

Both installations invite visitors to sway in and out of real and perceived places, whether you believe you are connected to a cable stretching across an ocean or looking around a room that isn’t there.

Marissa Lee Benedict and David Rueter began their collaboration in 2015 with Dark Fiber, first exhibited at Chicago Artists Coalition, and then at Contemporary Art Brussels and EXPO Chicago. The artist team received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 2015 for their collaborative project Gary Streetlights. Individually, Benedict has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Hauser & Wirth, Somerset, UK; the DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago; and Threewalls, Chicago. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Rueter’s work has been exhibited internationally at galleries and festivals, including the International Symposium on Electronic Art, and Northern Spark in Minneapolis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Oberlin College, and a Master of Fine Arts in Art and Technology Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is Assistant Professor in Art and Technology at the University of Oregon.

Sarah Rothberg lives and works in New York City, where she is the Virtual Reality Experience Director at the Samsung Accelerator and an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited in galleries such as Bitforms Gallery, New York; REVERSE Space, New York; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, New York; Babycastles, New York; and Grand Central Station. Rothberg received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree in Professional Studies from New York University.




Quotidian Infrastructure: Walking Normal 
Marissa Lee Benedict
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opening Reception

Tuesday, September 20
5 pm - 7 pm