CARRIZO-PARKFIELD DIARIES (introduction and exhibitions information)
Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries (2005) is an exploration of earthquake terrains as seismic memory. The Diaries interpolate live and archived seismic and geomorphologic data through digital montage. Scientific data visualizations of seismic activity on the site is displaced into abstract arrays based on documentary photographs and drawings at Carrizo Plain. Source images for the geologic data are from Active Tectonics at Arizona State University, the Parkfield Experiment, and the California Integrated Seismic Network.
“As in a dream, the camera in media artist Christina McPhee’s video.. roams across an enigmatic landscape gathering disparate images that tangle together as loosely twisted threads of a story. They never fully knit together, but that’s the point. Her themes are memory, trauma and the tumult of earthquakes, and the video functions as a dreamscape of layered and moving frames that mimic the way slips of imagery flutter through our psyche, one quickly replaced by another…”
Holly Willis, “Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries,” LA Weekly, March 2005
The current geologic epoch is sometimes called ‘anthropocene’ to emphasize the force of human-induced ecological and geologic changes. In response to the global crisis of climate change and environmental risk, contemporary media art moves across the liminal edges of landscapes, linking human perceptions with natural forces, in a cybernetic embrace. Along the San Andreas Fault in California, Christina McPhee explores topologies of memory, trauma and geologic presence, like a field guide in a psychogeographic landscape. She tracks seismic presence through intimate studies of site. Combining performance and documentary, her experimental films meditate on the hidden and invisible forces of seismicity, and the shock of unpredictable trauma. Her topologic site studies hauntingly combine the poetics of memory with flashes of documentary and performance. Her work lives at the strange crossroads of scientific visualization and imaginative narrative in new media.
large scale photomontage chromogenic prints, video and installation video
American University Museum / Katzen Arts Center 2007 solo exhibition
Whitney Museum of American Art, Artport 2005, curated by Christiane Paul.
Bildmuseet, University of Umea, Sweden 2005-6 solo exhibition
Cartes Center for Art and Technology, Weegee Building, Espoo, Finland 2006 solo exhibition
Transport Gallery Los Angeles 2005 solo exhibition
Sara Tecchia Roma/New York, New York (group show Persona/Personae) 2006
Turbulence.org commission: Carrizoprime interactive net art work
Field notes in a subliminal world, the Diaries record active tectonic traces of a geologic diary within the shifting terrain of human remembrance and amnesia. Layering field notes and drawings with traces from geomorphologic maps, the artist displaces the subjective experience of traumatic memory inside a series of abstract remixes, combining precisely observed local detail within the omnipresence of seismic data. Observing appearance and disappearance of surface cracks and shifts in the aftermath of major disturbances in the field, the Diaries record a seismic landscape where visualization is never completely clear, and triggers both illuminate and occlude memory. Conceptually, the current data’s reach into the past changes the archive from a static resource to an uncanny future array: layers of fiction trigger from the disturbances, much like the way human memory reconfigures itself after shock.
The Diaries incorporate layers of field observation within a dream-like sequence of abstract images, where passages of linear structures and shadowed mass allude to ruins and debris in the wake of recent tremors. By means of architectural scale, at 50 to 120 inches, each print resembles a ‘vertical frozen cinema’ (Ryan Griffis) —film stills from an event-scene that has almost materialized, laced with traces from geomorphologic maps. The mapping samples open source visualizations of changing Parkfield surface and subsurface terrains in the aftermath of the M 6.0 tremor at Parkfield (September 2004) and a 6.5 earthquake centered in San Simeon, California in 2003. In the Diaries, layers of images, text and sound from the Carrizo Plains and Parkfield react to one another and in so doing build an infrastructure that resembles the slow rebuilding of memory after trauma. Echoing the appearance and disappearance of surface cracks and shifts in the aftermath of major disturbances in the field, the Diaries assay the neural topologies of nightmare and trauma, where visualization is never completely clear, and triggers both illuminate and occlude memory. Field notes in a subliminal world, the Diaries record active tectonic traces of a geologic diary within the shifting terrain of human remembrance and amnesia.