BRISTLECONES - A Climate Archive and Story Circle
08.2021  - present

Bristlecones is an ongoing narrative, composed of stories, photographs, and animations connected through climate grief in the wake of shifting landscapes. It is a story of collective memory, both as a tool to embody the ephemerality of place but also as a ritual to honor the things we have lost. Based in Colorado, USA, this documentation process began in the wake of the 2021 Marshall Fire near Fort Collins, CO, a grass fire that rapidly became the most destructive in state history: images of families escaping from grocery stores as flames descended are burned into my memory. As a result of poor spatial development, the suppression of indigenous land management practices, and sprawling urban development, wildfires that were once a rarity now occur every year.

There have been many iterations of the Story Circle, a practice that creates a safe space for voluntary participants to share stories, with the intent to revitalize understanding towards the experience of another. It is typically a thoughtful
process of introspection, with a broad range of application; intercultural competency, restorative justice, mediation, and exchange. This story circle is about empathy. Narratives aren’t powerless, hear these stories for they cannot melt into a shifting land. Empathy fosters collective understanding. We are stewards of change, our identities constructed both by place and by time. We are grown by our personal natures, gathered across climates - everyone comes from somewhere. Today it is my home, tomorrow it is another. Cataclysm happens every day, but time and time again humans prove that we are resilient, adaptive, and through collective action - able to construct a more equitable future.