Incendiary Traces
The Southern California landscape has always been in question. It has served the purpose of different narratives and provided the backdrop for numerous conflicts, both real and imagined. Artists, explorers, speculators, even military strategists have used our polyglot landscape to voice and define our relationship to place, history and memory.

Conceived by artist Hillary Mushkin, Incendiary Traces is a conceptually driven, community-generated art project that explores the political act of representing the Southern California landscape by creating a series of “draw-in” events in different locations across the region, from the border between U.S. and Mexico to San Clemente Island and beyond.

The project, which is developing an archive of images, uses our real and symbolic affiliations with the subtropics as a starting point to bring home connections between Southern California and political “hot spots” in the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and beyond. The archive includes drawings, ephemera, public events, sounds, and other forms of expression that reach beyond mainstream representations of these geographies. Through engaged and embodied acts of image and sound-making, Incendiary Traces aims to bring us closer to seemingly remote international conflicts. We are seeking collaborators in its development.

Follow along with Incendiary Traces at their website and on Facebook.
Welcome to Incendiary Traces
Welcome to Incendiary Traces
Incendiary Traces led a recent draw-in at the 29 Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center where participants used drawing as a tool for connecting the Southern California landscape to foreign battle zones.
The Simulators
The Simulators
After participating in the Incendiary Traces visit to the 29 Palms Marine Base, writer David Buuck contributes an excerpt from a novel about role players in a military training scenario.
Harem Girls and Camel Races: Middle Eastern Fantasies in the Deserts of Southern California
Harem Girls and Camel Races: Middle Eastern Fantasies in the Deserts of Southern California
The towns in the eastern side of the Coachella Valley have long utilized romanticized portrayals of the Middle East to shape views of their own desert backyard.
Tracing the U.S. / Mexico Border Wall
Tracing the U.S. / Mexico Border Wall
Artists, art historians, and students gathered to draw the most southwestern edge of the U.S./Mexico border as part of a continued investigation by Incendiary Traces.
Battlefields of Santa Barbara
Battlefields of Santa Barbara
How does modern war mark the California landscape? A single day's photographic record produced on the Southern California coast offers one compelling answer.
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icon, Architecture/ Design discipline

Architecture/ Design

California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.

icon, Community Arts discipline

Community Arts

Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.

icon, Cultural Politics discipline

Cultural Politics

Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.

icon, Film & Media Arts discipline

Film & Media Arts

At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.

icon, Literature discipline


Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline


Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.

icon, Music discipline


A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.

icon, Performance discipline


Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.

icon, Visual Arts discipline

Visual Arts

Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.

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