Richard O’Sullivan: Fragments of the Los Angeles River

  • ©, Richard O'Sullivan, Fragments of the Los Angeles River


    Fragments of the Los Angeles River

Artist(s) and People Involved:




    Standard Definition Video with stereo sound (projected)

Artist Statement:

    The Los Angeles River flows for fifty miles through the city from the mountains to the sea, chiefly along a concrete channel designed to prevent it flooding. A video work intended for gallery projection, Fragments of the Los Angeles River brings together fragments of footage from the artist’s journeys along the river.

    These images present varied, contradictory visions of the river, and as such are difficult for the viewer to assimilate into one coherent portrayal. The piece has no voiceover to help the spectator privilege one perspective, and the structure of the work does not prioritise one representation over another.

    Indeed, the video is not designed to depict the river in a strongly univocal way, merely as a post-industrial nightmare for example, or straightforwardly as an unlikely haven for wildlife. Instead it portrays the river as a nebulous cloud of different qualities with little apparent relationship, order or hierarchy.

    By refusing to structure its portrayal of the river into a coherent statement, Fragments of the Los Angeles River raises questions about the nature of representation, and implies the process of exclusion or arrangement necessary to produce a conventional documentary. As a result, our basic systems for understanding and describing a place – or any subject – are intended to come to the fore as we watch the piece.



All Works by the Artist(s) in This Archive: