Expired August 16, 2020 3:59 AM
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Courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles


Pat O’Neill’s avant-garde masterpiece combines time-lapse photography and optical printing to meditate on the industrialization and desertification of Los Angeles.


Pat O’Neill’s rarely screened masterpiece, the exceptionally dense and technically dazzling Water and Power, is a moving meditation on industrialization, focusing on Los Angeles, “a city that turned land into desert.” Using time-lapse photography and optical printing, O’Neill intertwines technology and ideas, collaging different locales into montages that suggest the inevitable conflict of industry and nature. His genius comes in combining his raw materials in new and increasingly paradoxical ways, posing the relationship between humans and nature as a series of questions rather than offering fixed answers. –BAMFA 


“[Water and Power] reveals a modern city as layer over layer of experience, and makes no pretense of reducing Los Angeles to anything like a single, coherent understanding… L.A. is not merely an elaborate reality; it is a nearly overwhelming surreality.” –Scott McDonald, Wide Angle

  • Year
    1989
  • Runtime
    57 minutes
  • Director
    Pat O'Neill