In “Walk Into Wildfire,” artists Ethan Turpin and Jonathan PJ Smith arranged life-sized recordings from US Forest Service research cameras to give an otherwise unsurvivable point-of-view. Viewers confront wildfire’s presence in this proxy experience, exploring its behavior, hazards, and beauty.
Fire is fundamentally a force of rapid change. It calls up a strong, visceral sense in us, as it did with our ancestors, having both metaphoric and real world power. Given the great risks it poses to life and property, it is easy to respond with fear. However, we often choose to live in beautiful places where fire plays an elemental roll in a dramatic cycle of renewal. The paradox is that by keeping forests from burning, we allow fuels to build up, guaranteeing bigger fires later. As forest managers begin to adopt more nuanced strategies toward suppression, people are coming to terms with the inevitability of wildfire and learning to prepare accordingly.
This exhibit at The Foundry in Bozeman was part of PERC’s Widlfire Solutions Summit. Photography by Ian Grob of the U.S. Forest Service.
Learn more: live-perc-wp.pantheonsite.io/wildfire