Prints (seismographs/pendulum graphs), Maps ( Contemporary Santa Rosa showing neighborhoods and streets as a 5’x5′ map and digital projection), DVD (photographs and film documenting aftermath of the 1906 in the greater Bay area), Audio-Visual Simulation (reimaging of the 1906 quake).

The word, “signature,” is most commonly thought of as an individual mark made by hand on paper.  However “seismic signature” is a seismological term sometimes used to describe characteristic waveforms of a seismic event.  Signature brings together both references – hand written words and seismograms—as well as recordings of earthquake survivors to create a portrait of seismic history as it intersects with local lives and landscape.

At the heart of the installation is a digital image of the city of Santa Rosa that seems to ripple and dissolve each time an earthquake sound is heard.  The sounds are audible translations of seismic graphs from the 1906 Bay area quake.  Both the projected map image and sound of the 1906 quake are controlled by Global Positioning Satellites that trigger sound and disruptions of the image each time a satellite passes overhead. With each sound, the surface of the city ripples erases the familiar and visible landscape, replacing it momentarily with a view of the Rogers Creek Fault that lies beneath the city.

Like history that repudiates the past, Signature marks the movements between what is past and present, visible and invisible, as each refuse to remain conveniently fixed in place.

Selected Exhibits

  • Force of Nature : Centennial exhibition commemorating the 1906 Bay area fire and earthquake, Contemporary Project Space, Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, California April 22-July 9, 2006


  • “Santa Rosa-1906 Earthquake,” KQED, NPR Public Broadcasting, Interview with Scott Schafer, April 12, 2006
  • “Santa Rosa in the 1906 Earthquake,” The California Report, NPR Public Broadcasting, Interview with Jason Margolis, April 12, 2006
  • “Traces of Presence” by Gretchen Giles, The Bohemian Review, Sonoma, CA, April, 2006


  • Seismograms from The California Earthquake of April 18, 1906 Report of the State Earthquake Investigations Commission, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1908. Pub. no 87, vol. I, Reprinted 1969.
  • Film documentation of the 1906 aftermath from The Prelinger Archives and the U.S. Library of Congress 
  • Photographic documentation of the 1906 aftermath from The Sonoma County Museum, Collection, Jack London’s Journals of the 1906 Quake
  • Audio recording of 1906 Bay area survivors from the The Sonoma County Museum Collection