In 1983 our van burst into flames on a family vacation. Eleven months later our house would burn to the ground.
As I dig through my past I find mysterious connections to these blazes that force me to confront a closet full of skeletons. Inspired by true events in my life, Where There’s Smoke details these connections between two mysterious fires and my father’s battle with cancer.
This spring, Where There’s Smoke will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The experience will consist of two distinct immersive installations: one in the festival’s main venue, and the other as a pop-up in a nearby storefront on Canal Street. Both installations will bring festival-goers into different sections of a house destroyed by fire.
After Tribeca, Where There’s Smoke will become a traveling installation designed to evoke empathy among healthcare practitioners in an effort to reduce intern burnout. Working in conjunction with the Columbia University Narrative Medicine program and the School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, the project will act as a curative space that enables practitioners, patients and loved ones to craft and share stories of healing. The goal is to evolve the project into a multi-year design research initiative that harnesses storytelling, collaborative design and emergent technology in an effort to improve care.