Direction,camera, editing, sound design: Christina McPhee
a naxsmash group production 2010
Ambient local sound with additional recordings from the series “Temporal de Santa Rosa,” by Brian Mackern netart.org.uy/xtcs/archivos.html
from the project “Tesserae of Venus” by CHristina McPhee 2009/10
HDTV 1080i 1920 x 1080 16:9
3 minutes 20 seconds
In the Sacramento River Delta, amidst high tule reeds and exurban towns clinging to the edges of the vast flat waters, levees cache new alternative energy plants--natural gas. Shot at the Medanos plant, ludb.clui.org/ex/i/CA3463/ near Antioch and Pittsburg, California in spring 2009. Steam vents open breathing lungs, expanding and contracting, while water streams to cool the superheated turbines. Tesserae drawings spring from steam, lace, or laser-trace. Droplets like cilia explode from the center, tiling outwards, Fibonacci lilies. Volumes from a deep center, birth from turbines, white clouds placenta.
I film on the fly at high tech energy installations. They are often under surveillance so you have to shoot at dawn, dusk or after hours on weekends, and never more than for a few minutes at a time. I shoot the video as a a kind of drawing. I use the camera as an on the fly editing tool by taking careful note how long to shoot. I work within a sense of the rhythm of the site, for example, in response to the rich sound rhythms from turbines. The shoots -- guerrilla-style as they are-- involve a poignant gesture or kairotic moment, which in urban slang may mean, not only the ‘perfect time or apt moment of luck,’ but in a strange reversal also “is used to express gayness or queerness or just to make fun of people who you don’t like as in “You are very kairotic” or “go away you kairotic bastard” “ (urbandictionary.com). You can find the alternative and petroleum energy extraction going on, usually, in rejected or neglected natural areas, especially littoral or marginal streambeds, riverbeds, and swamps or sloughs in estuaries near the ocean-- usually because of the need for large amounts of watter for cooling (at geothermal and natural gas extraction sites). Waste or trashy places--often, where sensitive micro-ecologies involving cleaning and sifting wastewaters is a natural process. These sites are 'trash' or bastard-- hobody wants to think about them. But the bird, animal and inasect life there proliferates despite the technological incursion . Thus an assemblage of disconnected elements= things that shouldn't be together-- are thrown together-. At the point of contact is a kairotic moment--