CAC press release (March 2014):
Presented by Chicago Artists Coalition’s BOLT Residency, Augur is a new immersive installation produced by artist Marissa Lee Benedict. An extension of Benedict’s ongoing investigation into processes of research, collection, extraction and cultivation, this solo exhibition will feature a 4-channel video installation depicting Benedict’s repeated attempts to collect a core sample from the arid, clay-hardened surface of Harper Dry Lake located in Hinkley, CA.
Working to cut into the parched ground and gain a glimpse of what might lie beneath, Benedict tries to gain traction in the harsh landscape via a series of gardening tools (a sledge hammer, a bucket, a shovel, a drill, and a series of pipes) and amateur soil sampling techniques. The show’s title, Augur, plays between the words "augur" – to portend a good or bad outcome of an event or circumstance, to foresee or predict– and "auger" – a hand tool often used by soil scientists, geologists and glaciologists to bore holes into the earth.
Special thanks to the CLUI Desert Research Station.