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Tools of the Trade

Christina McPhee's

Shake Stations at dorkbot-nyc

By Melody Chamlee


Video: Excerpts from a film in progress by Christina McPhee

Christina McPhee recently presented Shake Stations at dorkbot-nyc. The project, which is currently in progress, studies the work of fellow artist and friend DV Rogers' geologically interactive, kinetic earthwork known as the Parkfield Interventional EQ Fieldwork or PIEQF in the form of a stark, dusty Western-style video documentation. McPee calls the work, located in Parkfield, CA, a "sideshow attraction of generative audience participation," where the elaborate wooden scaffolding, looking something like the planked sidewalk of an old West saloon, is activated to shake like an earthquake tremor when motion sensor cameras powered by industrial strength generators trigger movement around it. Incredibly sensitive to its exterior surroundings, PIEQF not only reacts to real seismic events so small they are normally missed by observers, but also to passing cars, wild animals, and even weather patterns.

McPee's film will detail the construction and philosophy behind the creation of the covered pit. PIEQF was conceived as a temporary human intervention to deep time, and McPhee's will elaborate on this point through her meditative use of montage, which in her words, enables "latent energy landscapes" to unfold. Drawing on the uneasy relationship between man and the natural environment, the film will allude to a human sense of both wonderment and dread towards large scale seismic activity.


DV Rogers' PIEQF Station is scheduled to remain in Parkfield from September through part of November, with more details for the adventurous at http://allshookup.org/. - Melody Chamlee

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