Christoph Girard

Sylvia Plath Collage Installation – Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus

Sylvia Plath Collage Installation – Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus is a multimedia installation and experiment in new media poetics that strategically re-imagines authorial identities.

Chris Girard describes the audio and video poems from the installation, 2010

These identities are particularly those from street signs and audio clips of renowned confessional poet Sylvia Plath. By presenting collaged audio and video recordings, the project radically questions the power traditionally associated with the author. Since Plath’s suicide almost 50 years ago, she continues to be cast as a depressed wife and mother. The imperatives of this role still weigh heavy upon the production of her biography and the reception of her work.

The collaging of audio and video clips reembodies Plath as an omnipresent ghost and shifts meaning away from an exclusive association with the tragically depressed, the pathologized Plath. But, instead of disembodying the writing entirely away from the author, the author now wavers productively between Plath, reader/viewer and myself. The act of shifting references away from the author’s life and intention enables the writing to become more open to alternate interpretation, more open to this new historical moment and audience.

Print Versions

The collaged audio and video poems can be experienced through watching and listening to them. Printable PDF versions of the audio and video poems can be found here for audio and here for video.

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus, 2010, Audio Collage

Installation Details

The installation consists of audio and video collages that are created through the cutting and rearranging of prerecorded audio and video recordings of texts into sequences of connected texts that play new poems.

The audio component was collaged from the poems that Sylvia Plath read in the early 1960s entitled Lady Lazarus and The Applicant to form a new hybrid poem entitled Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus.

Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus, 2010, Video Collage

The video component was a series of video collages of texts documented near the location where Plath committed suicide in Camden, London. The installation explores how meaning shifts from the intended authors recorded on the audio, video and images to myself through the process of collaging and recording the installation objects.

Theory Alert…

While the project primarily touches on issues of authorship, embodiment and performativity, discourse surrounding digital and new media poetics shows the effect it has on the reader too. It shows how the attribution of an author by the reader becomes complicated from the instability and constantly changing state of screen-based interfaces like that of the project.

For example… Plath, an American who lived in England for only a few years, oddly spoke with a fake English accent during these readings. It suggests a construction of identity to place. The audio presents a phonetic collage of Plath’s voice from BBC recordings of her poems Lady Lazarus and The Applicant during her stay in London and a few years before her death in 1963. The fragments of audio are sliced, extracted and rearranged from individual words of her readings to produce a seamless collage of poetry.

In theoretical terms, the project explores ‘performativity’ of the ‘author function’. The ‘author function’ is a term coined by poststructural theorist Michel Foucault to describe how readers attribute certain characteristics that they believe belong to the author and ascribe them to the writing.

‘Performativity’ is a term used by philosopher Judith Butler to describe a set of actions that ascribe and predetermine a set of attributes to a subject through his or her gender, age, timeframe, nationality and race.

The performativity of the author function appropriates these characteristics of an identity and attributes the characteristics to the author. For a much longer explanation, please see Ph.D. thesis here.

Installation Process & Behind-The-Scenes…

This image shows the process of collaging words from Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus and The Applicant (bottom tracks) with SoundTrack Pro to form a new hybrid poem Lady/Applicant: The Lazarus (top track).

A poem was created based on street and storefront signs found near Plath’s former residence and place of death in Camden, London. These clips were weaved together on iMovie and inspired by experimental filmmaker Hollis Frampton’s film entitled Zorns Lemma. They are composed of texts arranged in a semiotic sequence that are subservient to their visual surroundings. The cadence of sound and the sequence of visual texts from instructional and public signs filmed within a five block perimeter of 23 Fitzroy Road reflect the constraint and play of a historical moment.

The plaque images show a transformation of a historical moment to an instruction. William Butler Yeats lived in the same townhouse that Plath committed suicide in about 25 years before. Though both are noted figures, only the plaque of Yeats is shown in front of 23 Fitzroy Road. This component was included in the installation as 4×6 matte photos scattered on the floor.

Posted by Chris Girard in Code, Poetry & Writing, Projects, Video

Nine Ninety-Nine Only Store: Free Artisan Wallpaper

The NINE NINETY-NINE ONLY STORE offers downloadable high-resolution photography for $9.99 free. Download free high-quality photos for wallpaper or prints!

The “$9.99 Only Store” came from a funny realization when I was looking for food one day. The prices at a religious and health foods market in Los Angeles called Lassen’s Market. All of the food, big and small was $9.99! I am watching prices rise and rise at the 99¢ Only Store and it is soon going to be a $9.99 Only Store as well.

I began this store as a store, but very few people buy art anymore and I was exhausted by the constant finicky behavior of WooCommerce. So now here we have local/global artisan free wallpaper, high-quality images, for desktops or for printing.

Laguna Beach Shoreline

Laguna Beach Shoreline, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Laguna Beach Shoreline, 2008, Photograph

A quick capture from a flashbulb blends the impressions of moving wind and sea from two seconds’ worth of an open shutter. The still frame records subtle lights from palpitating waves along this Laguna Beach shoreline. The scene is blurry yet in focus. It offers muted golden lights dancing at the base of the sand. These lights look as if water intermingles with tides at the bottom of the ocean floor.

The capture offers physical proximity, time, and place attached to it. The photograph was taken at midnight in Spring 2009 at Thalia Street Beach near the center part of this South Orange County town. Laguna Beach is an artistic destination that for some has never been a destination but home. I went to high school at neighboring Dana Hills High School and I worked at Fingerhut Gallery with a few of the Growlers on Forest Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway before it imploded.

Laguna Beach Shoreline can be printed beautifully on paper or used as high-quality wallpaper for a desktop.

Download Gold Waves at

Running Hill

Running Hill, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Running Hill, 2011, Photograph

The specter of some lost party runs atop a looming hill before the sun low in the sky completely sets. Below the dusky horizon, fractured light creates a myriad of colorful pulses which complement the sad colors of the early evening. The action of running is the centerpiece of the photo overlay which captures a set of black and white figures stark in motion. At the pinnacle of the dark hill, cool tones of blue, green, and purple almost bleed underneath the swollen charcoal sky. Running Hill can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper for a computer desktop.

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Gold Waves

Gold Waves, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Gold Waves, 2005, Photograph

Elements of warmth and whimsy illuminate this conceptual twist on a modernist composition. Despite the contemporary style of Gold Waves, the imagery retains a fanciful, even fairy tale, quality. Conceivably, the rippling tide of golden currents unfurls like the hair from Rapunzel’s tower. Or peradventure, Rumpelstiltskin has spun a mountain of straw into gold thread.

Materially, the photograph captures the motion of a fan beating inside its encasement. Repeating in a pattern like a flowing current, the blades seem to vibrate, rather than spin, within the cage. Gold Waves can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper for a computer desktop.

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Ice Fog

Ice Fog, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Ice Fog, 2012, Photograph

Life on this moon may not be found on the surface but in the sky. The burst of cool blue light glows in ice fog as if it holds an energy source of its own. The midnight star brightens small bits of icy frost permeating a barren skyscape defined by the pathos of a vanished civilization. The atmosphere surrounding the noon moon sun is on a distant planet that makes hopeful space cadets wish for water. Ice Fog can be printed beautifully on paper or used as wallpaper for a computer desktop.

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Shampoo, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Shampoo, 2004

Instant recognition of bright, showy colors propels the viewer into a voyeuristic tour of consumer culture. In Shampoo, a telephoto lens extracts an image of misty, warm-colored shapes. They are seemingly lifted from the personal hygiene aisle of a grocery store. This trio of visually vague, but subconsciously unmistakable, commercial products fades into a pop art fog, transforming the banal into the exotic. The line-up of plastic bottles features gradients of minimalist shapes and contours of mass-produced goods and can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper for a desktop.

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Tectonic Trees

Tectonic Trees, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Tectonic Trees, 2012, Photograph

Long, slender tree branches reach up from the sunny cliffs of Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. The puzzle-like design they create resembles both a geological map of tectonic plates and the municipal grid pattern of the underlying city. Further up the limbs, a winding set of wooden fingers stretches toward a twinkling periwinkle sky, while a vibrant spray of African lilies dances in the cool, soothing breeze. A luminescent image overlay engenders an airy quality to the trees. They seem to stand closer to the sun than to the earth below. Tectonic Trees can be printed beautifully on paper or used as high-quality wallpaper for a computer desktop.


Spectrum Miami and Red Dot Miami featured Tectonic Trees during world-famous Art Basel in Miami, Florida. Artbox.Projects, which exhibited the artwork at its booth, features many artworks by artists from all over the world. This Swiss-based group launched a mobile voting platform for artwork called VOTE4ART at their booth during these events. Thousands of spectators at the event as well as many more mobile VOTE4ART users voted Tectonic Trees as winner.

Download Explorers at


Explorers, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Explorers, 2011, Photograph

A mid-century mystery man looms in the background of this noir-inspired image. Explorers melds the cool undertones of Griffith Park with the warm under-glow of Los Angeles. The city’s landscape acts like its underlying tectonic plates; while the still, natural landscape of Griffith Park rests high above, the rapid, immediate movement of city life traverses below. The soft, wavy, brushstroke-like quality reflects the style of 19th-century British romantic landscape painter J. M. W. Turner. Explorers can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper for a computer desktop.

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Filament Light

Filament Light, Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Filament Light, 2005, Photograph

A spark of Filament glimmers and grows swaddled in a membrane of light, protected by its hard but fragile shell. Like paint on canvas, light on paper is the photographer’s brushstroke. Filament reveals the genesis of its luminescence and thus the palette of photographic expression. Filament Light can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper for a desktop.

Download Filament Light (2480 x 1984 pixels) at

Infinite Movement (Umbrella)

Infinite Movement (Umbrella), Free Wallpaper

Chris Girard, Infinite Movement (Umbrella), 2003

Electricity, a cornerstone of modernity, inspires the concept of infinite movement in a twisting umbrella. Both mechanical structure and ghost-like shadows weave realism and abstraction together. This also establishes a notion of duration in the image. The rendition of a moving gear looks like an electric current. And the clockwise flow perpetuates the belief that there is no stopping the machine.

What can be considered a photograph taken a century after the height of a modernist movement over a century ago is not so old. Both time and motion conjure the energy behind a ticking clock that accelerates the pace of life and can also liberate stillness. Innovation, the radical departure from the universal beliefs that had preceded in the past, is such an iconoclasm.

Infinite Movement (Umbrella) can be printed beautifully on paper or as high-quality wallpaper.

Download Infinite Movement (Umbrella)

Posted by Chris Girard in Photo, Projects
RIP Most Useful, Most Funny, and Most Cool Yelp reviews 2008-2018

RIP Most Useful, Most Funny, and Most Cool Yelp reviews 2008-2018

RIP Most Useful, Most Funny, and Most Cool Yelp reviews 2008-2018

I almost had my Black Elite 10-year anniversary badge… I didn’t make it. It’s so difficult to maintain a long-term relationship with something that you have to give more than you receive in return.

Being an Elite, then Gold Elite, almost a Black Elite, for the course of 12 years made me realize that I should be getting money for writing.

I was upset that as the years of my elite-hood progressed into the late 2010s, I would get accepted less and less for the social invitations that I RSVP’ed to. When I was first Elite in 2008, I could go to everything and get free sake mugs too. By 2012, I was going to parties and dinners all over Los Angeles. I got full-course vegan dinners and alcoholic beverages at swanky bars. By 2016-2017, I received no response to half of the Elite invitations I tried to go to. Katie Burbank, who was the manager at the time, would prioritize the novelty of newness (new members) over the novelty of a sardonic Yelp review. Most of that Yelp from the lowly red Elites was saccharine crap. Then I stopped with Yelp and decided to take over my own Yelp and host my own reviews.

There was a social aspect to Yelp that wasn’t great. I never made a friend from Yelp -outside- of Yelp. It wasn’t really a way to produce social overtures like social media and dating sites could be. You would chat with people by leaving notes next to the “You’re Hot,” “You’re Cool” and “You’re Funny” compliments back and forth. There was nothing that really held Yelp friends together besides the sharing of funny reviews we wrote.

I remember part of my journey with Yelp was presenting it at UC Santa Cruz, which was incredibly fun. Not. It was criticized by these asshole white Marxists at UC Santa Cruz as propagating the fetish to consumerism. A lot of my day-to-day experiences are going out to businesses and it’s a way I can remember parts of my life beyond the great or crappy food or um ambience.

Best Five-Star Yelp Reviews