Auto-da-fé: Site-Specific Multimedia Installation

Fire has been a source of fascination for humans for millennia. From early civilizations that worshiped fire as a deity to modern-day pyrotechnics, fire has always been a symbol of power, transformation, and rebirth. For my latest installation, I collaborated with composer Imogen Mason to explore these themes through a unique blend of pagan and Christian motifs, audio-visual projections, and natural elements.

The central artwork of the installation is a figurative “web” drawn within the fallen limb of a Siberian elm tree. This tree species is highly controversial as it is considered invasive, but it may hold the key to mitigating the effects of climate change in the high desert region where the installation is located. Charcoal gathered from this winter’s routine brush burning is placed below the web, symbolizing the degradation of the native habitat and the increasing threat of wildfire in a rapidly changing climate.

But this installation is not just a somber reflection on the effects of climate change. Combining motifs of both the divine feminine and the phoenix - the quintessential symbol of renewal and transformation under pressure - it is designed to play with the balance between light and dark, physical and spiritual, real and imagined. Audio-visual projections seamlessly integrated with the natural elements of the installation create a fully immersive environment that transports visitors to another world.

I wanted to create an experience that would not only captivate visitors but also inspire them to reflect on the complexity of our relationship with the land and to consider our responsibility as stewards of the earth. My hope is that this work can serve as a potent reminder of the transformative power of art and the potential of art to inspire action and change.

This installation is just one of several recent climate-related works developed during my residency period in Taos.