Unrigging a wildfire

2018. Handmade paper, India ink, PVA medium, waxed linen thread.

Unrigging a Wildfire is a sculptural work that uses traditional bookbinding materials and processes - cutting, dyeing, glueing, and sewing handmade paper to produce an object that simultaneously contains and communicates information. The hand-cut paper strips are sewn together to replicate the cartographic symbols from a wildfire map that I collected on an operational wildfire assignment in northern Nevada during the 2018 fire season. Topographic lines and the active fire edge are extracted from the operations map and sewn together into a loose grid of bookbinding thread. The grid is physically propping up the landscape it describes, which becomes further abstracted by the weight and tension of its own signifiers when the piece is hung.

“Unrigging” is a sailing term used in reference to a process of dismantling the system of ropes and cables (rigging) that supports a ships’s masts and suspends and operates its sails. In this work, I’m interested in beginning to dismantle the visual systems that drive and shape our understanding of the landscapes we engage with.