Well established for her genre-defying approach to image making that timelessly combines eras, cultural references, and personal experiences, the photographs and the film debuted in this exhibition are a fresh reflection on Prager’s place of origin, site of inspiration, and frequent character—the city of Los Angeles
In Prager’s newest film, Play the Wind, we are led on a journey throughout Los Angeles with our protagonists Dimitri Chamblas (dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts) and Riley Keough (American Honey and The Girlfriend Experience). Depicted from the vantage point of driving in the city, Prager cultivates a surreal sentiment of passing moments that feel like a fabricated memory or a dream. She utilizes this sensation of motion throughout the film as a narrative device, with her command of film directing, honed over eight films including the Emmy Award winning Touch of Evil (2011), now contributing a new sense of movement also evident in the accompanying still photographs. She anchors her characteristically elaborate fictional scenes within the real Los Angeles, shooting for the first time in many years primarily on location rather than in the studio—a decision that harkens back to when Prager began her career over a decade ago. Though the images contain large constructed set pieces and are populated with carefully cast extras (numbering up to 300), the presence of the Los Angeles streets infuses an element of urban lifeblood that is palpable in the work. Prager’s perception of Los Angeles is one of the artifice and drama befitting Hollywood, with real world chaos that overflows into sci-fi dystopia and post-apocalyptic dread. She toys with these visions of the city disseminated on film, TV, and within the popular imagination, which inform our characterization of a place as much as our own memories.
Courtesy of NOWNESS