Connie Samaras

United States, b.1950

Untitled (Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica)

  • 2005
  • Single-channel video, colour, sound, duration 4 mins 30 secs, looped
  • Purchased 2014
  • 2014/086
  • View on google maps

A seal breaks through the ice and begins oxygenating; slowly opening and closing her eyes as she fills her lungs with air. Weddell seals live and breed on the ice shelves around Antarctica, further south than any other mammal on the planet. They move between holes in the ice to hunt, and have been recorded holding their breath for up to ninety-six minutes. Connie Samaras made this video while on a residency in Antarctica. Like many of her works, it invites us to consider the two-way dependency of our relationship with the environment, the fragility of the body and our tenuous grip on survival.

(Te Wheke, 2020)

The images shown here are stills taken from the video.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Beats, 18 December 2015 – 30 April 2017

    The Weddell seal inhabits the ice shelves around Antarctica, living and breeding further south on the planet than any other mammal. The known record for holding its breath is ninety-six minutes – an incredible feat which allows it time to find or make breathing holes in the ice, and to stay down long enough to capture its preferred prey, which often live very deep.

    Los Angeles-based Connie Samaras made this video in Antarctica in 2005 while on a special study grant for artists and writers.

    (Beasts, 2015)