Enjoy Your Time consists of excerpts from three projects by Los Angeles-based artist Connie Samaras. Each project explores built environments, art as historical artifact, and the political and psychological geographies found in the everyday.
Angelic States – Event Sequence (1998-2003) is a photographic series looking at fin de siècle architecture and the intersection of police, surveillance, military, and entertainment technologies in U.S. urban landscapes. Shot in Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas, many of the images in this series were taken in seemingly public spaces where photography is no longer allowed, requiring the artist to assume various personae in order to take the image.
V.A.L.I.S., vast active living intelligence system (2005) is a series of photographs and videos shot in Antarctica. Awarded a National Science Foundation OPP Artists and Writers Grant, Samaras traveled to the U.S. station at the South Pole to depict the liminal spaces between life support architecture and extreme environment.
After the American Century (2009) is the most recent work in the exhibition was partially commissioned by the Montalvo Arts Center. Traveling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December 2008 and March 2009, one of Samaras’ interests was to depict the cultural narratives generated by global capitalism and embedded in the architectural projects of the region, especially those oriented towards tourism and havens for extreme wealth. “Central to the work is a contrasting of the branding of Dubai as an idealized future where hyper consumerism transcends all matters of earthly constraints with the such bitter realities of the poverty among the laborers who are building Dubai and the difficult working conditions of such an extreme climate,” says Samaras. Like Angelic States – Event Sequence, most of what Samaras recorded was off limits for the camera. Additionally, like the other two series here, she also deals with the space between fiction and real world as well as the idea of speculative landscape. “Produced at the moment of an unprecedented worldwide economic downturn, one is not sure if the images represent a future that is in a state of becoming or in a state of obsolescence.”
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