“I live in the epicenter of what I hate the most,” Lizama says. This reminds me of the dream factory of Hollywood, that we both inhabit, which for about a hundred years has been selling to the world an image of benign consumption and waste — with the personal automobile as its central engine. Arguably L.A. artists have been providing counter-spectacles to these isolating American fantasies for some time. Currently photographer Connie Samaras has a retrospective at The Armory Center For the Arts. Her images capture the banal nightmares of manmade landscapes — air conditioned palace lakes in the desert heat. Samaras’ work doesn’t address climate change explicitly, it doesn’t perform the consciousness raising of Ruth Wallen, it doesn’t enact other paths like Erik Knutzen and Jimmy Lizama’s passionate life practices do. Nor does it enact and encourage dialectics of power like Liberate Tate and Platform. Samaras’ images among other things present the depressing hubris of the human species. If scientist’s predictions are correct we’ll be feeling the effects of that hubris for centuries to come. We’ll see it in our changed environments, in species decline and extinctions, and in the rise of global instability as many old ways of living are drowned or toasted. Perhaps in the future too, when somebody asks “who’s making art about climate change in Los Angeles,” the response won’t be a head-scratch and a “geez, I dunno.”
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