title
  ABOUT
news
video_installations
cinematic video
photography
drawings
writings
reviews
cv
press
contact
HOME > CINEMATIC VIDEO > CARRIZO QUARTET VIDEO FROM CARRIZO PROJECT
CARRIZO QUARTET (VIDEO SUITE) 2004-06
salt 3
SALT | 2004 SilkyVRML42 | 2005
byrd 4
Bitterwater Blackbyrd | 2006 Soda Lake Drawings | 2005
Combining performance and documentary, the Carrizo Quartet video suite meditates on the hidden and invisible forces of seismicity, and the shock of unpredictable trauma. Topologic site studies combine the poetics of memory with flashes of documentary and performance. The Quartet lives at the strange crossroads of scientific visualization and imaginative narrative in new media.

“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," Signal to Noise, 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.”
–- Maria Tjader-Knight, Cartes Center for Art and Technology, Finland, May 2006

The San Andreas Fault manifests its most obvious display at Carrizo Plain, sometimes called the "Cadillac of earthquake geomorphology" about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The M 8.5-9.0 Fort Tejon Quake occurred over 150 years ago, and offset the banks of Carrizo’s Wallace Creek by thirty feet in a couple of seconds. Now, the Fault appears quiet here. I made repeated forays into Carrizo, from 2001 to 2005, and from which the present Quartet is born. In the edit I was layering seismic jet trails, through documentary montage at Carrizo. In the videos, geomorphic animation fragments, based on VRML (virtual reality modeling language) studies of seismic activity at depth, are interpreted from the work of Ramon Arrowsmith, PhD. of the Active Tectonics Research Group, Arizona State University. Sound is ambient from the Carrizo Plain, or developed from keyboard improvisation, or layered from audio interpolations of velocity recordings of the September 28, 2004 Parkfield quake from within the SAFOD (San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth), courtesy of the USGS, Menlo Park, California. I have composed the Quartet in the aftermath of two significant central California quakes, San Simeon (December 2003) and Parkfield (September 2004). In this often personal performance work, and its subsequent development in video, I owe great thanks for the help and insights of Terry Hargrave, who first introduced me to Carrizo in 2001, and still works with me there today.

top
next
full index
works
salt
silky
byrd
soda