La Conchita mon amour 


Christina McPhee 2005


Dvd /  49‘ 36“ in continous single channel,  or three channel simultaneous loop


La Conchita is a community in north Ventura County, California, whose inhabitants have been subject to massive debris flow mudslides in 1995 and 2005, and persist under the threat of continuing and inevitable recurrence. The most recent event on January 10, 2005 caused the loss of ten lives and the destruction of a central part of the village. Chain link fences surround a huge debris mound where the rubble of roofs and play yards, swing sets and crushed cars mingle with improvised memorial gardens made of banana plants, whirligigs, and photographs of the lost. Nonetheless ritual and site study alike are undertaken beneath agnostic winter skies whose storms trigger dissolution of the rincons.


Triangulating between study of the limited range of scientific forecast or remedy, and documentation of the continued local intensity with which the site inspires vernacular sacred gestures, across digital edit and that of the analog sequencer, performing video‘s leaps and elisions between observed ‘fact’ and subjective response. As if as the sense of place collapses the distance between subjective/machinic layers of information and a geologic time-scape marked by complex periodicities and chaotic precision.


La Conchita mon amour is created for three channel video installation in continuous loop with localized parabolic speakers; or in theatrical screening with a choice of one to three parts.


Rapid oscillation of frames was achieved by streaming videographic and photographic content via mini tape and computer interfaces into the Jones Sequencer, during a residency the Experimental Television Center in upstate New York in November 2005. Output was to minitape and then computer files, then returned to the digital editing environment at my home studio in California. The ambient sound design is created from documentary capture via camcorder and mic, as well as from internet video clips posted online by a USGS witness to the catastrophic debris flow. Music in (part 2) are selections from the composition TAO, composed by Kyong Mee Choi for piano, voice and electronics. Texts are culled from initial United States Geological Survey reports on the landslide at La Conchita. Primary documentary sequences were shot by Terry Hargrave. Special thanks to Hank Rudolph and Sherry Miller Hocking of the Experimental Television Center, New York; and to architecture students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for their active engagement in the site research surrounding this project.





Christina McPhee’s transmedia works explore landscape and memory at the borders of cinema and scientific visualization. Kyong Mee Choi, composes works for chamber, electro-acoustic, interactive, and multi-media music.


©Christina McPhee 2005 naxsmash group productions / all rights reserved