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Stories of Fire
Online Exhibition Series Part III:

Pyro Future-01.jpg

“The future is always in the present.”

Sonia Sobrino Ralston

“... by looking at a few horizons, we can imagine a multitude of futures.” Emily Schlickman + Brett Milligan

Fire is transformative. While wildfires may elicit fear and loss, they also clear the way for new growth. In fire-prone ecosystems, fire renews the growth of grasses and shrubs, and triggers trees with serotinous cones to drop their mature seeds onto nutrient-rich mineral soils. In human communities, fire enables new sightlines to emerge as new ways of seeing and feeling become visible in its aftermath. Resilience, humility, relief, and compassion may sprout as communities in post-fire landscapes sift through what was lost, what was changed, and what was gained.  

This third and final part of the Stories of Fire online exhibition series features creative and collaborative work that engages the concept of sightlines by envisioning speculative futures that might help us live better with fire. These works explore emotional and material resilience by beginning to reimagine human and other-than-human relationships with fire across the American West. They provoke attention to the opportunities that are “ripened” by fire, asking who and what needs to be made visible and what processes and networks, both ecological and social, need to be supported. They invite our engagement and hold open the questions of how we will choose to live with fire and with each other and what justice could look like across these fire-prone landscapes.

This work is presented in collaboration by:

And made possible by the generous

support of:

Emily Schlickman + Brett Milligan

Pyro Postcards

Greetings from your PYRO FUTURE postcard reversed side text:

Given thousands of years of collective human experience with fire, we know we are not separable from it. It has remade us, and we have remade it, based on how we engage it. In gleaning from the past, we can see just how different human relationships with fire can be, and how consequential and formative these differences are for landscapes. Landscapes change elastically and responsively to fire. Any relationships we now make with fire will still bear a heavy imprint of our agency, which is why design by and with fire is so important. We have, and always have had so much choice in what nascent, fiery landscapes can be.

pyro postcards_array.jpg

Pyro Postcards feature unique text on their backside. Read more from this series here.

Jackie Barry 

1. Boys in Truck 2. Medio Fire

3. Cole, 35mm film shot on Olympus Stylus Epic, 2020

Boys in the Truck.JPG
Medio Fire.jpeg

Sightlines "bears witness... sparking a range of emotions about what becomes visible, and felt, when the flames are extinguished."

read more on how these artists act as agential partners in our shifting landscape 


Allison McClay

Olallie Burns, acrylic on wood, 20"x16" 2022

Kasia Ozga


batik, ink & watercolor on handmade paper, 2020

"Fire’s ashes are seedbeds for necessary new growth."

read more considerations of just futures expressed in Sightlines.

Andreas Rutkauskas

from the series

Silent Witnesses

1. Nk’Mip Fire, 30"x40" 

2. Underdown Creek Fire, 40"x30"  3. McDougall Creek Fire, 30"x40"

inkjet prints on baryta

mounted on dibond, 2023

Explore Pyrosketchology 

Miriam H Morrill developed Pyrosketchology as an approach for building awareness of the fire environment through observations, sketching, and nature journaling practices. Her fire environment observations are threaded throughout this guide to developing a deeper sense of place which includes fire.

Katie Kehoe

Wildfire Shelters for Small Animals 35.66754°N, 105.43550°W, Santa Fe National Forest, NM, photographic documentation of site-specific installation, 2023

Gerard Sarnat

poem & accompanying screenshot image 

Not So Wide Or Hard-Hitting Home-Hardening 

Town Center organized an Earth Day symposium

On how to mitigate fire risks 

In forest-rich Northern California Portola Valley.


I’m impressed & overwhelmed

With expert gung-ho-ness DIY Preparedness Panel 

Neighbors spending $75K easy.


TMI sesh, which sadly was attended on Zoom by 7

Includes few presenters/looks like

Less than 5 in-person, clearly didn’t reach masses.


At end when wrapping up, emcee

Who didn’t seem to mean or appreciate her humor

Queries, Any burning questions?


Man asks if large animals evac’ed to Cow Palace.


(Slide said to be borrowed from City of Beverly Hills)


Doug Tolman & Alec Bang

Response and Responsibility,

above: film still right: performance artifacts,

barbed wire, dining set, 2019


Doug Tolman


coniferous log, splitting maul, 2023


"Like a serotinous cone opened by fire’s heat, Sightlines releases a range of aesthetic and affective seeds: new ways to visualize, reimagine, and feel [our] way into possible fiery futures and our potential role in making them."

read more about Sightlines
affect through Jennifer Ladino's
juror's essay

Allison McClay

Sucia Saves Us

acrylic on wood, 20"x16" 2022

Kasia Ozga


batik, ink & watercolor on handmade paper, 2020


Fire Resilience Workshop Design Collaboration 

Two years after the Almeda Fire in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, local community leaders mapped their hopes for their county in a Confluence Lab led Fire Resilience Workshop. Designer Megan Davis then partnered with these groups to adapt their concepts into these featured shareable assets. 

Sonia Sobrino Ralston

Forests as Data Governance

digital animation & collage,


various digital

collage sizes,


Andreas Rutkauskas

from the series Silent Witnesses, McDougall Creek Fire

40"x50", inkjet print on baryta

mounted on dibond, 2023


further considerations

"The Future
is Patchy"

Sightlines, the third and final exhibition in our Stories of Fire series, builds on the themes of Ground Truths and Fuel Loadings, adding new dimensions to art’s ability to represent “fire’s mercurial nature as well as the rich range of emotions that fire can produce.” Sightlines envisions what Pyro Postcards creators Emily Schlickman and Brett Milligan emphasize is a “multitude of futures”: some are “bleak. Some are exciting. Some are just fucking weird and stick in your mind.” Any of this multitude could come to fruition depending on how creatively we navigate the climate crisis, how honestly we reckon with injustice, and how successfully we learn to live with more fire. The Sightlines exhibition grapples with the reality that, as one of the more unsettling pieces in Pyro Postcards reads, “the future is patchy.” Like a serotinous cone opened by fire’s heat, Sightlines releases a range of aesthetic and affective “seeds”: new ways to visualize, reimagine, and, to cite Schlickman and Milligan’s artists’ statement, “feel [our] way into possible fiery futures and our potential role in making them.”


With a palette of earthy colors that echo historical public lands promotional materials and PSAs, Pyro Postcards operates in unusual and sometimes startling affective registers. Some postcards invoke nostalgia for familiar images and aesthetics with playful reinvention of what we think we know; others traffic in more ominous tones that conjure but defamiliarize the dominant fear-and-dread mode of engaging with fire. On the playful end of this spectrum, the artists replace Smokey Bear and his individualistic “Only You” campaign with fresh nonhuman animal faces, shifting to a collective model of fire resilience led by more-than-human community members. (Vote for a new “pyrophilic mascot” here!) A savvy squirrel named “Sooty” welcomes other “Pals” to help reseed after fires. Clothed in an official-looking uniform “Grazie the Goat” stands ready to chomp on flammable matter and reduce fire risk. A cougar crew boss with “Pyro” inscribed on their hard hat appears determined to take advantage of the perfect prescribed burn conditions. Like their human counterparts, these critters put safety first; woodpeckers and bobcats alike sport hard hats and Nomex. These “babes in the woods” are not passive victims; they have co-evolved with fire and can teach humans how to live with it. Other postcards take more serious turns: a promotional postcard featuring Giant Sequoia offers tourists the chance to see “earth’s largest dead trees,” and one postcard that seems to be burning from the top down simply warns: “We’re Fucked.” Overall, Pyro Postcards invokes a kind of affective dissonance, asking us to sit with uncomfortable, conflicting, non-cathartic emotions about fire and to harness that dissonance for justice.


Kasia Ozga also recognizes the mixed feelings about fire that so many of us carry. In her artist’s statement, Ozga describes being struck by wonder when confronted with the scale of Pacific Northwest forests, where trees dwarf and humble us, reminding us that we’re a tiny part of a vast ecosystem. At the same time, Ozga feels “exhaustion from the intense thick smoke that blankets the region when forest fires are in abundance,” a common embodied reaction to what Lisa Cristinzo, in her artist’s statement for Fuel Loading, calls “the build up, the burn, and the burn out.” Yet Ozga’s work brings me from suffocation to relief and a kind of release. RE_MOVE N.22 draws the eye upward from root system to canopy, from a rich soil-like red clay, to wispy smoke-like tendrils. The texture of the hand-made paper conjures the crispness of burned bark. The perspective is road-like, two throughlines coming closer together, gradually, to simulate motion. A cleverly placed set of binoculars offers itself up as a tool for sharper vision. I feel poised to turn right, with the lines, and face what’s around the corner—our always invisible future. RE_MOVE N.24 is even more viscerally inspiring, with a beating heart at its center, and tree-like branches that are also lung-like, signaling for us to breathe deeply, spread our arms, and trust the ways that new growth post-fire will re-oxygenate our bodies and sustain our lives.


Forests as Data Governance, part of Sonia Sobrino Ralston’s more expansive Uncommon Knowledge project, also moves viewers, but taking a digital rather than an organic approach. Ralston’s project responds to a 2022 fire that threatened Google’s first hyperscale data center in The Dalles, Oregon, prompting the use of LIDAR scans to envision and anticipate future threats to digital infrastructure. Ralston adds forests to these pointlouds of data at the site to show how “plants become critical infrastructure, a form of long-term information storage” that requires protection and stewardship. Converting a forest into binary code, Ralston illuminates the motion, beauty, and agency that are easy to miss in more mundane representations of tree life. By turning plants themselves into infrastructure, Ralston highlights their vulnerability as well as their essential role in planning for a healthy future. Like Ozga’s, this work guides our vision in multiple directions: upward, to migratory birds and tree canopies, and downward, by way of an elegantly twirling conifer, to the intricate and enormous root systems that anchor individual trees in place, reminding us there’s often more going on below ground than what we can see above. Real forests are messy places; in Ralston’s deft hands, digital forests become uncanny pixelated versions of the real thing, both defamiliarizing our relationship to the material world and introducing us to magical new materialities, in which trees are information-rich, illuminated, and illuminating. 


Kasia Ozga's RE_MOVE N.22

Two ways works form Sightlines reminds us to look up: (left) from Sonia Sobrino Ralston's Forests as Data Governance, (right) from Miriam Morrill's Pyrosketchology

At the other end of the representational spectrum from binary code, Miriam Morrill uses analog methods to bring the fire environment to life via a practice she calls pyrosketchology: a unique kind of nature journaling that builds hand-on awareness of fire by using sketching “to develop better observation skills, awareness, and understanding of the natural world.” Pyrosketchology uses simple materials—drawing tools, sketchbooks, human hands—to reveal the complexities of what Morrill calls the fire environment, which includes the traditional components of the fire triangle along with “fire seasons, ignitions, mitigation, effects, and regimes.” Available for free online, the full Pyrosketchology book includes guided activities to invite us into a more intimate relationship with the fire environment—a relationship founded on simultaneously apprehending fire’s visual, emotional, and scientific dimensions. Two activities featured on our site include one for measuring flammability by way of a leaf burn test and another for estimating tree cover in a forest by isolating and sketching a representative section of the canopy. Through generative prompts like these, Morrill’s pyrosketchology renders science and art deeply embodied, intertwined practices and inspires us to be curious as both citizen scientists and citizen artists.


Whether through the white spaces on a page, the distance between pixels, the layers of handmade paper, or the tensions between nostalgic, familiar aesthetics and ironic, playful reinventions of them, the art in Sightlines complicates well-worn emotional ruts and opens up other ways of feeling about, and with, fire—including those that are exciting and just fucking weird. Typically, fire feelings are reduced to variants of fear and sadness, and for valid reasons: when apocalyptic orange skies dominate news headlines, our anxieties are stoked; when catastrophic destruction and loss of life result from unfightable wildfires, we grieve. Yet to focus only on fear and sadness oversimplifies the range and complexity of our feelings about fire and can have negative impacts on management: a frightened public might be more prone to support total suppression and to shun the prescribed burning that is essential for healthy fire management. Sightlines encourages a more expansive affective repertoire as we resee and reconsider our “patchy” fire futures. 

the Smoke Clears"

Jackie Barry's Cole

Sightlines challenges artists to envision what happens when the smoke clears and we are confronted with fire’s impacts on human bodies, landscapes, and the built environment. The exhibition bears witness to these impacts, sparking a range of emotions about what becomes visible, and felt, when the flames are extinguished. What emotions are mirrored back to us in the eyes of wildland firefighters and others facing fire’s front lines? What pressures do we put on younger generations to both symbolize and create a better future? Who and what survives, and might even thrive, in fiery futures? Sightlines artists invite us to learn lessons from fire that might shape not just how we respond to it but also how we anticipate and prepare for it, how we work with fire as an agential partner in a shifting and shared world.

Part of a hotshot crew, Jackie Barry took a camera into the field in 2020 to film their fellow crew members. The result is an intimate set of images that challenge us to reckon with, perhaps to justify, what firefighters do: the labor, the risk, and the “burnout.” Many people are aware that firefighters are underpaid and overworked, and that romantic visions of firefighters as akin to war heroes can encourage us to put them in harm’s way unnecessarily. But beyond stereotypical images of urban firefighters—with their red trucks, their fire stations, the highly visible structure fires they extinguish—what is life like when the backcountry is your workplace, when wildland firefighting is your job? Barry’s position as hotshot crew member enabled them to catch their coworkers in casual moments and expose the gritty realism of a very hard job. In Medio Fire, a cluster of hotshots gaze across a valley at smoke on the ridge opposite them. What seems like repose is both warranted (they work excruciatingly long days, sleep on the hard ground, and carry extremely heavy packs) and also probably not repose at all; most likely they’re analyzing fire behavior and strategizing for the next day’s work. This perspective contrasts with the close-ups of the “boys” in Boys in Truck, an image that makes me curious to hear what they’re talking about right then, and to understand more about their day-to-day work lives. Too often we only see fire from afar, on a distant ridge or not at all—a far-off flame front, or billowing smoke columns, or orange skies in a photo next to an alarming headline. Barry’s photographs make fire personal, not by showing flames but by showing us what human bodies that work with fire look and feel like. I feel challenged by Cole’s close-up stare, and by his slightly downturned lips: Is this worth it? Are you asking too much of us? And what does his unflinching look juxtaposed against a field of sunflowers begin to tell us about this traditionally masculine workplace? What becomes visible when we focus on the people who work in and with fire are questions of justice, then, at root.


Allison McClay’s Olallie Burns echoes Medio Fire in that it frames a distant fire from the perspective of a human—and, in McClay’s image, companion animals. Facing fire alongside these figures, we viewers are looking out with them on a landscape that is burning, has burned, will burn. Here we see the familiar red skies and what looks like a lake reflecting that umber hue. What I find most fascinating about this image—aside from the dogs, who outnumber and look up to the human figure—is the hands on hips stance. This can signal frustration, bemusement, determination, or anger. Without a facial expression, it’s hard to tell. But the piece is powerful for the way it shifts attention from figures to background, asking us to reflect on what we see and feel looking across this landscape with this triad of animals in the foreground. As McClay puts it in her artist’s statement, her work implores us to reconsider “what a healthy relationship to destruction and to existential doom could look like.” In Sucia Saves Us McClay recalibrates doomism toward hope. Gently winding tree limbs cradle a harmonious multi-species community of ravens, white-tailed deer, and human children, in a magical realist mood that suggests salvation. Pushing back against depictions of children as emblems of the future or requisite symbols for hope, though, it is Sucia—an island in the San Juans—that “saves us” here. As the Pacific Northwest adapts to longer and more intense fire seasons, McClay’s paintings are refreshing in their indication that “alarm” is only one affective attunement, even when fire is always in the background. 


Returning us to central tensions in Ground Truths—between mourning and renewal, death and regeneration, destruction and new growth—Andreas Rutkauskas’s Silent Witnesses series refuses to resolve them. Instead, these photographs expertly show how fire’s power is both destructive and restorative, and prompt reflection about what roles humans should play, as witnesses and stewards, in capturing, rerouting, or simply admiring what Ruskauskas describes in his artist’s statement as “fire’s power to sculpt the land.” Rutkauskas’s photographs get at this question, in part, by re-centering plant agencies, using an outdoor strobe light to illuminate what he rightly considers valuable “members of a community.” Rutkauskas’s framing disrupts the common anthropocentric perspective of looking down and out across a burned-over area by positioning a dried-out shrub in the foreground. What first appear to be almost black-and-white shots quickly take on multiple dimensions of color and texture. White tufts of dandelions pop against a blackened forest. Ponderosas are marked by vibrant orange splotches beneath the bark, which shine neon against charred trunks and signal the emergence of new layers of growth. In all three images, the foreground glows, attracting my eye and heart to brightness rather than the threatening sense of dread or the grief that often overwhelms us when confronted with destruction. One thing that becomes visible, and felt, from this vantage point is a sense of near-miss relief: the feeling that things could have been even worse. But what strikes me most is the bright green understory, which brings a spirit of resilience, even joy, to the darkness.

smoke clears

Andreas Rutkauskas, from Silent Witness 

Katie Kehoe, Shelters for Small Animals

Katie Kehoe’s Wildfire Shelters for Small Animals operates in a similarly dissonant mode. Small animals often imply cuteness or play, but fire shelters are deadly serious. Trained firefighters practice deploying shelters very quickly, with the knowledge that they are last resorts for survival, to be used only when a flame front is overtaking the crew—in other words, when death is imminent. These triangular shelters are arranged so that their tips touch in a kind of wheel, conjuring a “circling the wagons” sense of protection. But who is included in the circle, and who is the implied enemy? How do we protect not only ourselves, but other animals as well, from destruction? What “survival architecture,” to cite Kehoe’s provocative phrase, is required for our hearts? Kehoe’s art asks what “lifesaving devices” we need to develop to survive and perhaps even thrive in uncertain fire futures. They also beg a more basic question: who is the “we”? Why should large mammals—humans in particular—get priority for survival? Kehoe’s shelters, like Pyro Postcard’s “babes in the woods” avoid a sentimental Bambi-ism but nevertheless tap into a profound and common human concern for “small animals,” harnessing that concern for fire awareness. Ultimately, Kehoe’s project, like all of the work in Sightlines, confronts us with the harsh material realities and the “survival architecture” we must create in the face of extreme conditions—individual wildfires, changing fire regimes, and, more broadly, the climate crisis


Sightlines returns to one of Fuel Loading’s central insights: that fuels build up “not just via ecological accumulation, but also via social tradition and routine.” Sightlines suggests that our ecologies and societies may be so deeply and complexly intertwined that only art can disentangle them and help us see the distinct threads, and their intersections, more accurately. Recognizing that we’re all implicated in the buildup of these social fuels, how might we form new partnerships for justice? What new collaborations might be fertilized in the ashes of wildfires? How does resilience feel, and what practices and modalities—from mapmaking to performance art—might help nurture it? Does justice require a new suite of emotions to kindle and fuel it, and if so, what might that suite include? 

A sense of humor can be a kind of lifesaving device, a kind of fire shelter for the heart. As the wildland-urban interface (WUI) takes center stage in larger conflagrations, irony and dark humor can remind us of the incongruities in our attempts to integrate prevention into communities. Gerard Sarnat’s ironic treatment of a poorly-attended online fire safety session for residents of the City of Beverly Hills suggests the difficulty of reaching even privileged communities. Sarnat’s alliteration is harsh—hard-hitting home-hardening—but it uses that attention-getting craft technique to alert us to class-based injustice. The poem is structured like an interlocking toolkit, with line lengths that could be assembled like puzzle pieces. The lines of verse mirror the Zoom screenshot’s blocky text, which (if we read it “right”) is red to green, left to right, implying a tidy, simple building block style of home protection that eludes the randomness of fire’s impacts. Anyone who’s seen its impacts will have noticed the way fire jumps around, skipping some structures entirely while demolishing others. Like Kehoe’s small animal shelters, Sarnat’s work questions which protective tools are available to which kinds of animals. Sarnat notes a moment of perhaps unintentional humor—the meeting host asking if there are “any burning questions.” Intentional or not, this gestures toward the multitude of ways that fire rhetoric permeates everyday discourse, shaping material practices alongside attitudes about fire. The audience member’s question about whether large animals are evacuated to “Cow Palace,” a former livestock pavilion converted to an indoor sports arena, warns of a potentially unhealthy use of humor: as a deflection or self-protective mechanism, a way to avoid grappling with the seriousness of wildfire risk. 

just futures

Gerard Sarnat’s zoom screen capture


from Doug Tolman and Alec Bang's Response and Responsibilty 

Megan Davis

from Pyro Postcard series

Doug Tolman and Alec Bang take direct aim at colonialism, reckoning with injustice at both personal and broader scales. Their short film opens with Bang eating a sandwich and seeming oblivious to his surroundings: the empty place setting across the table, the barbed wire fence to his right. The camera cuts to a scene in which two people roll a bundle of barbed wire (which the artists describe in their statement as “a tool of bifurcation and colonization”) down a hill like a giant tumbleweed. We get a glimpse of them wrapping the table in the wire before cutting to a black screen, when the familiar crackling sound of fire consuming wood reveals that they’ve set the wrapped table ablaze. The artists describe this work as a performative response to an especially large wildfire in their region as well as “a response to the barbed wire that colonized the West, and a responsibility as settler-descendants to find our roles in unsettling.” What’s left of the table is threadbare, barely holding together. A film still looks alarmingly as though Bang is about to be, or has just been, burned over by the flames to his right, conjuring memories of activists using self-immolation to make their points. Sitting face to face with fire, engulfed in smoke and breathing its toxicity in close proximity to the burning table, Bang forces viewers to bear witness and to feel complicit alongside him. Tolman and Bang find inspiration in the concept of serotiny, which they visualize via a family heirloom: a maul with its sharp edge embedded in a conifer, which was cut down after a prescribed burn in Tolman’s home region. Serotiny strikes me as a kind of performative land acknowledgment that recognizes colonial legacies and invites reflection on what reconciliation might look like, both in terms of fire management—recentering Indigenous burn practices and enabling serotiny—and in terms of social justice as well. 


Megan Davis’s work gives voice and vision to a community trying, collectively, to process the Almeda Fire’s impacts. Davis and other members of the Confluence Lab Stories of Fire team partnered with Coalición Fortaleza and Our Family Farms to host a workshop in 2022. Lab members brought art supplies and a simple prompt: participants were asked to map their visions for a resilient future. Some teams braided yarn to signify their interwoven community; others created a door using layered paper, signaling a sense of welcome. For Davis, an experienced graphic designer, rendering hand-made images with a professional, design aesthetic allows her to create “unified digital designs” that are impactful and versatile. Working closely with community members to ensure integrity of vision, Davis’s creation of shareable files results in both distinctive artifacts unique to this community, this fire—artifacts that can be posted publicly to amplify community members’ voices—as well as templates that can be repurposed elsewhere. My favorite is an image of a large wave about to crash and overwhelm a tiny sand castle in the corner of the frame. But this impending destruction is not something to be feared. Rather, a small caption reads: “May our needs propel us to break and rebuild the very systems that left us in need in the first place.” This mantra, or prayer, bears repeating. Some structures and systems need to be “burned down” so they can be rebuilt with justice at the center.


For settlers, recognizing complicity with land theft, displacement, and repression of Indigenous burning practices is essential. As Indigenous fire practitioners have always known, fire is not necessarily destructive. Fire also cleanses, as Lab member Isabel Marlens reports in her essay “Fire Lines.” Fire’s ashes are seedbeds for necessary new growth. Like a wildfire, art can be a mechanism for “burning down” systems of injustice, clearing space for better futures and providing the seeds to grow toward them. Pyro Postcards exemplifies this creative destruction. Schlickman and Milligan repurpose Smokey’s neoliberal paternalism (“Only You…”) for decolonial ends in a postcard showing California’s tribal borders that implicates viewers in justice, captioned: “Only You Can Decolonize.” Another reads, in bold, all-capped, block letters, “LAND BACK.” Their “Right to Burn Fire Service” postcard speaks to a future where Indigenous burning practices are upheld as a valuable right as well as an ecological good. As we continue to make the future now, moment by moment, day by day, fire season by fire season, we’d do well to find more ways to invite, center, and amplify Indigenous fire knowledge. 

As a writer, I had hoped Sightlines would help me articulate a sort of conclusion to our three-part exhibition series. It didn’t. Instead, Sightlines leaves me feeling productively unsettled. These artists showcase the power of art to generate visions of futures that will “stick in your mind” for some time, and I’m left with wildly dissonant affective orientations to fire, with no single end game, no clear future, to pin my hopes on. But this lack of resolution doesn’t have to be scary. As Sasha Michelle White puts it, eachwound is an opening,” an opportunity to see the world more clearly and to rebuild it with new insights, better tools, and sharpened vision. It’s true that the future is an open question. But it’s equally true, as Sonia Sobrino Ralston reminds us, that “the future is always in the present.” Our vision of what comes next may be patchy, but these artists remind us that isn’t a bad thing. A patchy forest can be a sign of a healthy ecosystem, one where fires have been able to do what they’re meant to do: produce a messy mosaic and a resilient natural landscape. Perhaps human-led resilience efforts might be patchy in this positive sense, as we feel our way forward, toward murky but more just fire futures.

further considerations contributed by

Sightlines Juror Jennifer Ladino,

February 2024

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