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Indepth Arts News:

"Christina McPhee: La Conchita Mon Amour"
2006-10-19 until 2006-11-22
Sara Tecchia Roma New York
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Sara Tecchia Roma New York is proud to premiere La Conchita mon amour, an exhibition featuring photography, video, digital print, net art and drawing by California-based artist Christina McPhee. With this new body of work, McPhee continues her exploration of the synchronicity between natural disaster and human trauma using the tiny coastal town of La Conchita. This community, just north of Los Angeles on Highway 1/101, is built on an ancient mudslide and has been subject to periodic massive debris flows. The most recent, in 2005, took ten lives and left a huge mass of fallen mountain on the town. Yet the inhabitants continue to stay, despite the inevitable recurrence of this threat. La Conchita remaps the problematic of living with disaster in California in immediate, raw terms, since the trauma is always already here. People can't or won't leave. They can't sell their houses and place hope that the hillside can be stabilized, though the geologic surveys suggest otherwise. Global warming appears to be accelerating the danger.

For the past 18 months, McPhee has been visiting La Conchita, taking photographs of the disaster's vernacular shrines to the dead on the site of the mudslide--chain link barriers a rubble of mud, destroyed house frames, roofs, retaining walls, play yards, swing sets and crushed cars. She also creates drawings based on the trajectory of the debris flow, as well as taking video and performing spontaneous personal rituals in the geography. These are all intermixed to form a visual memory of present trauma. McPhee does not approach La Conchita as a documentarian, but creates a new context that hovers between objective and subjective interpretation.

Artist and theorist G.H. Hovagimyan has stated that McPhee has updated the work of Ana Mendieta into the realm of new media. "I love what Christina McPhee does," he states. "She uses digital tools and scientific data to get to a deeply human emotion. Philosophers say all digital media is alienating. Both Christina, like Christophe Bruno, uses those tools to humanize."

Christina McPhee has been using the tools of new media to explore "phenomenology of place." She has recently created the theatrical video sets for Pamela Z's "Wunderkabinet", a multimedia opera based on stories from the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which will have its Los Angeles premiere at the REDCAT Theatre, Walt Disney Music Hall, October 12-15, 2006. Her media art is found in festival venues and museums internationally since 2000, including FILE Sao Paulo, prog:me Rio de Janeiro, Cybersonica at the ICA London, Digital Arts and Culture Melbourne, Cornell University Electronic Media Archives, the Pandora Archive at the National Library of Australia, Pacific Film Archive/Berkeley Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art Artport, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art / Rhizome Artbase. Her paintings and drawings are found in American museums including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She also has shown new videos in installation this summer at Cartes Centre for Art and Technology, Espoo (Helsinki), Finland.

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