Nicole Lavelle

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Paper Road is a multi-media research narrative, exploring my place within a place.

The research process and story both begin at my family's summer cabin in Marin County, California. I use houses as vessels for situating my own located experience within broader California cultural contexts and land use histories.

I created a book, installation, and performance lecture. I combed archives—public and private—for fragments of feelings. I digitized hours of Super 8mm footage at the Internet Archve.

The Book

This book is the final document of a year-long project conducted while I was a Graduate Fellow at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

The book is a non-linear narrative of fragments, recontextualized images and text that I gathered from private and public archives and collections. The content I assembled is annotated in my first-person narrative, as I explain the wild connections that emerged between all of the pieces, and muse on my own growth during the process.

Paper Road contains 450 pages of annotated narrative, an introductory essay, a conversation with archivist and independent scholar Rick Prelinger, a non-functional (but poetic!) index, and an extensive bibliography.
Published in 2017 by Publication Studio San Francisco.

PAPER ROAD is out of print!
You can find it in the “locals zone” at the Bolinas branch of the Marin County Free Library, and on the library shelves at Outlet in Portland.

Please contact me if you'd like to purchase a PDF version of the book.

The Installation

Before PAPER ROAD was a book, it was an installation: a re-imagination of a museum display, a swipe at the vernacular, a collection of findings, research made tangible.

Installed as part of No End In Sight, 2016-17 Headlands Graduate Fellowship Show at Embark Gallery, Fort Mason, San Francisco

Redwood, Super-8, milk crates, old paper, nostalgia, family, California, the internet

David Robert Elliott

Performance / Lecture

I gave a narrative performance lecture about the work, which was the precursor to the book.


I digitized hours of Super 8mm footage at the Prelinger Library. My grandfather was a “quantity over quality” person but I found the gems: family gatherings, Boy Scout campouts, and summer bonfires starting in the 1960’s. You can view part of the collection here, on Thank you to Rick Prelinger and Uncle Tim.


Spoiler alert: I moved to Marin County in the middle of this research process. I called on my new community to help me celebrate this work, with a book release party at the Bolinas Commons, and a reading at the Bolinas Library. 


This was a project of fragments. I collected snippets of visual and written information, from many, many sources, over the course of a year. I was in great company, spending time with all these cozy, chill, friendly ghosts from another time.