Away From Here


Web/Video project

"They were nearly all Islanders in the Pequod, Isolatoes too..."(Herman Melville)

The Isolatoes web project (2008-2012) takes various chapters from Moby Dick and reinterprets them visually in the form of web pages. Each page is compiled using a mix of digital images, moving gifs, videos, and text which result in a form of collage.

One of my interests in 2008 was the growing availability of free education on-line. I had become a fan of UC Berkeley Professor Hubert Dreyfus' philosophy lectures available to the public on itunes. These courses included Philosophy 6: Man, God and Society in Western Literature where Moby Dick was covered. The Isolatoes project is inspired by the novel's remarkable content and structure.

The videos included here, The Prophet (chapter 19), The Mast-Head (chapter 35), The Whiteness of the Whale (chapter 42), and The Line (chapter 60) are part of the web project.

View project at

The Mast-Head (Chapter 35), 2009, 1:05 minutes | The Line (Chapter 60), 2009, 0:22 minutes

The Prophet, (Chapter 19), 2009, two-channel video, 2:38 minutes

The Whiteness of the Whale (Chapter 42), 2008, two-channel video, 1:40 minutes


Video project

"For us geography is history, and it is no accident that our written memories are about fifty percent comprised of accounts of earthquakes and floods. Like mermaids' ours is a double nature: we are made of flesh and stone. Our bones have deep roots in the sea." (Vitorino Nemésio)

The Island project includes a series of videos made between 2003 and 2008 which use common source material. The videos are about the idea of island from an emigrant point of view - a point of view which involves a profound sense of saudade for the lost landscape.

The Azores Islands lie along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the triple junction region between the North American, Eurasian and African tectonic plates. It is naturally an unstable location. The last active volcano was Capelinhos, which erupted off the coast of Faial island in September 1957 and remained active until October 1958. My family and I were living on the neighboring island of Pico that year when my mother and her brother took a boat to Faial to record the volcano on an 8mm home movie camera.

Between 2003-2008, while making paintings based on the Capelinhos volcano, I also made a series of short, montage videos using my mother's film footage as well as other footage from the same time period. In 2009 a video clip from this project was included in the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations episode, Azores, Jan 27, 2009.

Film Archives

  • Film Footage of Capelinhos Volcano, Alzira Simas 1957-58, Faial island, Azores.
  • Film Footage of Capelinhos Volcano, Father José M. Neves Faial island, 1957-58.

Sound Archives

Geography is History, 2007, two-channel video, color, stereo sound, 3:28 min.

Our Bones Dive into the Ocean, 2008, two-channel video, color, stereo sound, 4:28 min.

Immigrant, 2004, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 1:34 min.
Folkdance (Chamarita), 2003, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 2:22 min.
Pedras, 2004, 8mm film digitized, color, stereo sound, 2:15 min.


Yellow Wallpaper Installation and other works

On February 6th we moved (Dora, Katharine and I) to 1258 Webster Street, taking three furnished rooms... On the eighth: 'I take Katharine to her first school, Miss Wyman, on Alice Street a lovely girl, the teacher, just a pleasant little home school, Kate likes it.' (Notes about Gillman's time in Oakland from her 1935 autobiography, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gillman)

Yellow Wallpaper (1990) was a site specific installation at the Alice Hotel, Alice Street, Oakland, California. It was inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gillman's short story, The Yellow Wallpaper (1892), an early feminist work about attitudes towards women and women's health. The installation included the act of tearing out wallpaper, writing and drawing on the walls, video and performance.

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