A Negotiable Utopia: The Humboldt Bay Project
This interdisciplinary media project features six short observational documentary videos and accompanying essays that examine and interpret the built environment of
Humboldt Bay—California's second largest estuary. This project investigates the bay's natural resource economy and infrastructure (including timber, fishing, and
aquaculture), its transportation (including roads, rails, and ships), as well as the bay's power infrastructure—including formerly nuclear, fossil fuel, and renewable
energy. The project also documents Humboldt Bay's natural and municipal watersheds, as well as its varied conservation zones and complicated shoreline. Each
video features atypical and unexpectedly graceful views of the bay, and each accompanying essay includes evidence-based narratives that honor the diversity
of perspectives and experiences that index these compelling environments.
This project clearly advocates for some of Humboldt Bay's more politically potent places, but it also attentively navigates the conflicts these sites can
sometimes attract. This project also honors the many stakeholders and everyday place makers (including laborers, civil servants, journalists, activists,
and researchers) that spend a great deal of time on Humboldt Bay and understand it deeply and experientially. With inclusive analysis and steady
observational strategies, this project presents a both comforting and counterintuitive picture of this community's beloved, contested, and globally
interconnected environment, and also celebrates and complicates this shared and intimate experience of place.