Signs

I offer the last bit on Pyrometric with an eye on reports from the fires in Lake County and elsewhere. The risk is that anything one might say trivializes those stories. Yet the goal of thinking deeply, creatively, and even poetically about how and where people come into contact with something we most often call "nature" seems more important than ever. 

With Pyrometric we tried to create poetic resonances within the installation rather than "wall text." Our first version referenced national park signage with a gentle parody of how a scientific paper might be organized.

For the Los Angeles Arboretum installation (up through mid-October) we paired Amiko's 3D design work with Brad's text that begins to theorize the installation in ways more obvious than the first signs. 

And finally, the two versions together with cones.

The text of the big sign for easier reading:

Pyrometric represents vibrant matter at the intersection of artistic and ecological processes. In the liminal, fuel-laden wildness within and outside the city, the project makes visible the effects of flame on landscapes and cultures in Southern California. The forms reference how kiln cones measure temperature and how traffic cones mark boundaries.

As fires grow in frequency and size, Pyrometric anticipates the inevitability of burning that undresses landscapes to reveal what previously remained hidden—old peel-tab cans and rodent bones gathered and deposited by mange-afflicted bobcats. The cones mark the intersecting trails of people and deer, rabbits, rats, and coyotes, the visible patterns of movement, use, and abuse. As we release cones to the distributive agency of a fire-prone landscape, our own intentions combust within an assemblage whose goals we are unlikely to anticipate.

As a playful inquiry into human-nonhuman assemblages, the initial exhibit retains a ritual tone—objects gathered for sacrifice to fire that is violent, generative, revealing, and refining. We learn from the example of the “tsunami stones” of Japan—inscribed slabs erected beyond the reach of previous catastrophic tides with warnings to the future: “Remember what happened here and do not make your homes below this point.” Art can mediate between people and nature. Our chaparral-fired ceramics can help calibrate human memory to natural processes.