A multimedia story series by Barron Bixler + Allison Carruth

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

– Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"

In his book Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, historian Kevin Starr argues provocatively that the nineties and early aughts marked “the end of one California”—namely, the expansionist California of the post-WWII boom era. Twenty years on, and this California hasn’t really ended, it’s just been atomized. Rebooted and remade by tech, media, agriculture and government, fractured by the pandemic and climate change, California and its mythic aura somehow endure.

This multimedia documentary project, California on the Edge, revisits and revises the coast of dreams through the stories of the coastal Californians who are adapting to, displaced by and working to salvage a climate-changed California. Our animating question is this: What still draws people and their imaginations to California’s storied coastline as environmental stressors reshape both its material terrain and its mythologies? The project is also a meditation on our own memories, and dreams, of California as they crash into the unsettled ecological and social realities of the place we call home.

In 2023, we embarked on what will be a multi-year journey up and down the coast of California, exploring the histories and futures of places that are pillars of the California imaginary, and that today face different environmental threats: Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Big Sur, Monterey, Moss Landing, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Sausalito, Bolinas, Tomales Bay, Jenner, Point Arena and Mendocino.

Beginning spring 2024, we'll be sharing those stories here.