Kenyon College
 

After the American Century

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Connie Samaras
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Connie Samaras (b. 1950s)

After the American Century: Dubai Skyline: Day. 2009.

Archival inkjet from film. 38 x 48 inches.

Courtesy of the artist.

 

After the American Century: Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. 2009.

Archival inkjet from film. 38 x 48 inches.

Courtesy of the artist.

 

ON OPPOSITE WALL:

After the American Century: Downtown Burj Dubai: Day. 2009.

Archival inkjet from film. 38 x 48 inches.

Courtesy of the artist.

 

After the American Century: Downtown Burj Dubai: Night. 2009.

Archival inkjet from film. 38 x 48 inches.

Courtesy of the artist.

 

Created on the cusp of global recession, After the American Century documents the rise of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as the city of the future. Samaras’s clear-eyed photography examines the confidence and extravagance built into the nascent structures of the megacity, as well as questioning the future foreseen in Dubai’s glittering skyscrapers. Samaras is dedicated to documenting spaces that are normally closed to the camera. For this series, Samaras relied on drivers to escort her into the construction sites and labor camps in the shadows of the 2,717-foot-high Burj Khalifa skyscraper. Her camera rises to the tops of skeletal buildings and skirts the fringes of the city, peering through tapestries of power lines. Her images impress the weight of such an undertaking, as well as suggesting its ultimate transience. The series is reminiscent of mid-century photographs of New York and Los Angeles, which once dwarfed the viewer and exploded the limitations of the past in a way that was previously unimaginable. But Dubai’s half-built skyline also gives no indication if the city is growing or crumbling. The future remains unclear.

 

 

Caleb Bissinger ’13

Gund Gallery Associate

 
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