✖️ Malakoff Diggins mine, Western Nevada County, 2020
my MFA thesis project in summer 2020 constellated in and around Malakoff Diggins, a defunct Gold Rush era mine in western Nevada County.
engaging the notion of the void as both a landscape feature — the earthen absence created by hydraulic mining during the second half of the 1800s; as well as the human lives and ecosystems the Gold Rush “voided,” displaced, and erased; and as an analogy for the “magic dark” of perceptual space across which neurons form colorful, cross-sensory connections; my project explores what it means to listen with an extracted landscape.
through deep listening, a practice of open and inclusive listening created by composer Pauline Oliveros, I listen with the living sounds of the landscape as they appear as synesthetic color-forms in my perceptual space.
︎︎︎an interactive field box i created to share my process with visitors to my website
back at my studio, I used homemade charcoal, foraged pigment, and leftover acrylics to paint abstract compositions that reflected my experience listening with each site. this mixture of natural, found, and industrially-produced, synthetic materials mirrors the material ecosystem of the mine and of our world in 2020.
the eight paintings are themselves objects of their environment, subject to change and decay. listening deeply in the void space of the mine allows me to shift from being out in the world to being embedded in it, and opens possibilities for an imaginative re-encounter with the mine as a complex, colorful living landscape home to a resilient, remediative ecology of interbeing.
visit the project website at
and support the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe's ongoing quest for the restoration of federal tribal recognition at www.chirpca.org/