Artist Statement

The temporality of the illusion that is Las Vegas is inherent to its dependence on the branding of an affluent America. Last fall I visited Grand Canyon National Park, and spent a day in "Sin City" en route. Driving along the wide main strip, I was unable to distinguish between igneous rock and its fibreglas likenesses. Imported Chilean flamingos stood as still as their synthetic doubles inside a casino courtyard. Birdcalls came from speakers in the same treetops where the birds flew. Lions watched a video of themselves in their cage while posing for cellphone clips.

John Berger, in an essay from the early eighties, attributes the invention of the zoo to industrialized 19th century Europe’s disconnect from animals. He concludes that looking at the animals in captivity is not a substitute for the “real” relationship between farmers and their livestock. “The zoo cannot but disappoint,” he states. Vegas does not look for a substitute for nature, but for its ultimate assimilation.

Back home, I posted two photographs of myself on facebook: one of an indoor street scene in “The Venetian,” the other on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The first prompted friends to ask what I was doing in Venice, the second was perceived as a fake.