“What else can you offer the earth, which has everything? What else can you give but something of yourself?”
— Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

        Before I was a filmmaker, I was a scientist — a biologist. Life has always fascinated me, from its earliest emergence to the present, from the simplest cells to modern humans. We’re the product of billions of years of evolution, a species of advanced intelligence and remarkable capabilities, the single biggest threat to life as we know it. Over the last few centuries, we’ve become a force of nature, heralding a new epoch of geologic time: the Anthropocene, the age of man. With grave concern for the environmental repercussions of our actions — rising temperatures and sea levels, mass extinction, overextraction, ecosystem degradation, and more — my practice merges art with science to reveal our unnatural, upended world.

        If we hope to restore some semblance of order, we must first strike a balance between human and nonhuman. While my work explores a spectrum of human relationships with and to “the environment” — from profiteers, to insouciants, to stewards — it places equal emphasis on nonhuman subjects and stories, on changing ecologies and landscapes. My practice is broadly informed and inspired by science papers, oral histories, fieldwork, the archive, documentary and experimental filmmaking techniques, geospatial technologies, and Anthropocene-centric work by artists, writers, and scholars like Anna Tsing, Edward Abbey, Jennifer Fay, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Deborah Stratman, William Least Heat-Moon, and Jennifer Baichwal. Likewise, my filmmaking process is purposefully expansive and inclusive: I often work between genres and with multiple media (video, film, animation, satellite imagery).

In the field. Images courtesy of Derek Torres.

        My 2019 documentary, Places Disturbed (digital, 13 minutes), filmed during a month-long artist residency at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas, explores the adjacency of protected wilderness and a neighboring oil boom as well as associations between disregard for the environment and the female experience. Color Bars - Big Bend (digital, new media, 2017) fuses landscape and technology to contemplate estrangement and home. The Real Thing (16mm & VHS to digital, 02:45, 2018) uses physical media destroyed by Coca-Cola to contrast the famous ad “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke” with The Coca-Cola Company’s recent scandal: unconscionable water privatization and its impact on Indigenous Tzotzil in Chiapas, Mexico. Texas Trash, an in-progress, personal project, connects the dots between environmental and social justice through our dependence on nonrenewable energy and incarcerated labor. 

        I’m now in post-production on my first feature documentary, Green Desert, which not only examines the decimation of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem by European settlers but also the perpetuation of this environmental disaster by their descendants. While Green Desert critiques Manifest Destiny, the intertwined genocides of American bison and Indigenous peoples, industrial agriculture, and modern-day suburban development, it also grieves for the once-vast prairie and revels in the quiet beauty of what little is left. As with all my films, my intention and sincere hope is that viewers start to rethink their place in both the local and global landscape, and maybe even find intrinsic value in life itself.