Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries at Transport Los Angeles


Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries detournes scientific visualizations of geomorphologic changes during and after the 2004 earthquake in central coast California, within large scale matrices of abstraction. The abstraction is based on photographs shot at the San Andreas Fault after the earthquake as well as field drawings and performance drawing videos in the remote site..  The Diaries present a traumatic landscape as ‘seismic memory’– linking post traumatic stress disorder nightmare phenomena with geophysical visual data.

photomontage and video installation

Transport Gallery, a temporary project space, downtown LA, 2005

from the press release, March 2005

Los Angeles, CA – Christina McPhee opens Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries on Saturday, March 5, 2005 at Transport Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.  An intense exploration of earthquake terrains and traumatic memory, the multimedia installation, including twenty large scale digital chromogenic prints, digital video, interactive net art, and drawing, will run from Saturday, March 5 through Friday, April 22, 2005.  Join Christina McPhee and a group of collaborative artists for an opening night reception and the premier screening of her short film "SALT" from 7:00pm - 10:00pm at Transport Gallery.


Christina McPhee builds very large digital chromogenic prints from medium format documentary photography, digital video, digital photos, and drawings made on site at seismically active zones in central California – from Carrizo Plains, called  the ‘Cadillac’ of San Andreas Fault geomorphology, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, to

nearby Parkfield, where the fault, present in only subtle visual signs, is a continuously active seismic landscape.  The recent 6.0 Parkfield quake of September 2004 offers a rich source for aesthetic as well as scientific open source data. The artist incorporates layers of field observation at Carrizo and data visualizations from Parkfield within a dream-like sequence of painterly shadow and illumination, ruins and debris, as if from events that  have almost materialized, but remain off-screen. Like fragmentary pages from a cinematic notebook, the architecturally scaled prints, at six to eight feet, recall film stills from an unstable and unpredictable story. Layering her onsite drawings with traces from Parkfield geomorphologic maps, the artist shape-shifts visual  narratives  that put  the intangible, intimate and local sense of place, up against the sublime ‘big data’  reality of  the continuous seismic activity  in California – imagined as a new and darker take on the romantic American western landscape. Following the recent Parkfield earthquake, geologists Ramón Arrowsmith and Nathan Toké ( record subsurface dynamics in open source visualizations: the artist builds these into visual and sound structures that evoke traumatic memory.  In digital video and sound installation at Transport Gallery, the Diaries trace increasing complexities of form, then dissolve or melt at the edge of consciousness.  Echoing the 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.

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