With the expanding human habitation of the American West we are occasionally reminded, however suddenly, of resident forces not easily domesticated. Though Santa Barbara's climate is mild, the chaparral habitat we build on is volatile, relying on fire for renewal. Burn Cycle examines 50 years of perennial fire events that remind residents in this landscape of an underlying wildness, an elemental phenomena that transforms its environment rapidly after waiting for decades. Once fire has passed over the land, new growth appears from the ashes, and people rebuild, in what is known as the wildland-urban interface.
The UCSB Library and the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management commissioned Santa Barbara artist Ethan Turpin to create an exhibition on wildfire, in conjunction with the 2014 UCSB Reads book The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America. Using images and film drawn from the Library's Department of Special Collections, its Map and Imagery Laboratory, and from other local collections of fire artifacts, Burn Cycle points to the perennial fire events that remind residents in this landscape of an underlying wildness, an elemental phenomena that transforms its environment rapidly after waiting for years.
- UCSB Reads 2014 LibGuide
- Burn Cycle Artist Talk (Feb. 19, 2014)
- Photographs of Artist Talk
- Article from the UC Santa Barbara Current
- Faces in the Fire (1991 documentary about the Painted Cave Fire)
- Exhibition gallery images