dreams of the new world is an original choral music work by composer Ellen Reid, commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The piece explores the ideologies and myths that have shaped the places and people of the U.S. West since the 19th century. To develop the work, Reid, librettist Sarah LaBrie, and I carried out short-term ethnographic and archival research in L.A., Houston, and Memphis. dreams debuted at L.A.'s Disney Concert Hall in May 2018. More background on the piece is available on the project’s and the LAMC’s websites.
The Longest Straw (2017)
The Longest Straw is a feature-length document about the connections between Los Angeles and the places from which the city draws its water. Produced by Samantha Bode and Angela Jorgensen, the film is organized around Bode's 338-mile hike up the length of the L.A. Aqueduct.
As part of my dissertation research, I hiked as part of the production for a week in June 2015. I wrote an essay about the experience - as well as the L.A. Department of Water and Power's role in shaping the landscape of Eastern California - for Sage Magazine.
Sewage treatment stories
Wastewater treatment plants are rich, revealing sites for anyone interested in the urban environment. I've written short and longform essays about how Southern California's sewage facilities are wrapped into ideas about futurity, technology, and the state's role in the urban environment.
Life of greywater (installers)
In this diary-style essay, I draw on my months embedded within a small home greywater system installation company to delve into the experience of running a water-saving startup at the height of a historic drought.
Oscillations: One Hundred Years and Forever (2018)
Oscillations is an immersive sound and art installation developed by composer Ellen Reid. The piece draws on my archival work exploring the history of Los Angeles’s Bunker Hill neighborhood, the site of present-day Walt Disney Concert Hall. Staged outside Disney Hall in October 2018 as part of the LA Philharmonic’s 100th Season, the work was describing as “transfixing” by the LA Times.
Defining 'local' water in Los Angeles
What makes water ‘local’? Among Southern California water managers, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine. I explore the complications and contradictions within this emic category for the Anthropology and Environment Society’s Engagement blog.