Symptom or Disease?
Photography, Public Art

“All of this is infected; we just don’t see it yet.”

This is how a local forest service manager described the forest to me as we surveyed the horizon from Monarch Pass, CO. Just a few years later, 90% of these trees have died from a small rice sized insect named the Spruce Beetle.

Beetle Kill: Symptom or Disease? is a public art project commissioned by CU Boulder’s CASE Fellowship that explores the cascading impacts and underlying conditions of beetle kill on Monarch Pass. Through collaboration with CU Boulder ecologists and local forest experts, the resulting artwork translates scientific research and interdisciplinary questions into visual form.

Using various photographic processes, the project is currently made up of eight pieces- each taking a different perspective and aesthetic/material approach to explore this surprisingly complex issue. From large format photographs that showcase the devastation seen from the pass to cyanotypes that celebrate the intelligence of the beetle’s design, I’m interested in how each of these pieces can operate on their own (differently), while also building a more collective conversation and understanding.


While the project explores the impacts of a specific beetle in a specific location in a specific time, it is also an invitation to consider what lies beyond what we currently see.

-About the CASE Fellowship

-Learn more about beetle kill