Facing Fire is an exhibition that explores western wildfires as omen and elemental force, as metaphor and searing personal experience. Fire tends to spread. So, too, does the meaning of fire. Sixteen artists bring us photographs, paintings, drawings, ceramic, and video as they face fire, sift its aftermath, and struggle with the implications. UCR ARTS is collaborating UCR’s Department of Music to present original compositions created by students and faculty around artworks found in the exhibition.

The faculty and student composers in the UCR Music Department work in a variety of media drawn from influences that range from hip-hop to experimental electronic music. The approaches for each piece within the Facing Fire project are highly individualized. Some works are fully scored compositions for classical instruments, others use external source material and text taken from other mediums, such as video game soundtracks and news reports. Their compositions are a testament to the importance of expressing one’s creative impulses during times of uncertainty and isolation.

About the composer/composition:

Christiaan Clark, a PhD Candidate in Digital Composition at the University of California, Riverside, is actively pursuing his passion for video game sound design and is currently researching new ways to implement procedural music into popular game engines. His love of video games inspires his dual artistic blend that is equal parts creative and technical. You can experience more of his work at http://christiaanclark.com

The Planet’s Crying explores the absurdity of how our climate change problems are paralleling the degradation of the planet in the video game Final Fantasy 7. To achieve this, musical motifs and voiceover from that game are combined with real world news reports that state both disturbing facts and fanciful delusions. Science fiction is frequently produced to warn of the potential of impending disaster, and yet, this fantasy seems just a little too much like reality now.

Image: Stuart Palley, Burned Joshua Trees, Erskine Fire, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, 2016, Courtesy of the artist