Project Series 51: Incendiary Traces presents artist Hillary Mushkin’s newest project. Incendiary Traces is an experimental art, research and media initiative investigating how landscape imagery is used in international conflict. It brings groups of artists, scholars, and students to active, local militarized sites to draw, observe and otherwise “trace” locations that have included the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base, the US/Mexico border, San Clemente Island Naval Weapons Testing Range, among others. Through research, event reports, and public scholarship, Incendiary Traces has collected drawings, photographs, and stories that highlight the various ways we visualize war. Counter to the mediated experience of remote conflict, Incendiary Traces provides a fresh view of national security and war as a physical, grounded American public experience. Engaging Pomona College students and faculty and other artists and scholars, the project will include an exhibition, an off-campus site-specific drawing event, a public forum, and a publication.
Project Series 51: Incendiary Traces will be on view concurrently with the Museum’s exhibition Goya’s War. Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War has been a source of inspiration for Mushkin for over a decade. In particular the prints Yo lo vi (I saw this) and Esto es lo verdadero (This is the truth) discussed by Susan Sontag in Regarding the Pain of Others eloquently speak to Mushkin’s concerns. Sontag points to these and other artworks to illustrate the challenges of representing an authentic experience of war. Do images and text help connect viewers, re-inscribe distance from war, or both? Taking the legacies of Goya’s series and Sontag’s critique as a starting point, Project Series 51: Incendiary Traces will explore connections between Disasters of War and contemporary human and technological visualizations of US international conflict.
This project is supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.