As we enter into the summer months, the drying-out of southern California, you are invited to join a reading group of “Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California,'' by David Wyatt. Digital copies of Five Fires can be borrowed with a free account from

The reading group is being hosted in collaboration with the MAK Center and will take place at the Schindler House at 835 Kings Road. We will meet three times throughout the summer for guided discussions — second Tuesdays, June, July, and August.

Reading group discussions will take place around one of the Schindler Houses’ fireplaces. Discussions will focus on the role of fires, as well as connection between the current landscape of California (an abundance of diasporic flora), versus a colonialist conflagration (a deserted-ness and vastness of land). Reflecting on the fire seasons which plague the American West: what ignites/perpetuates these fires (and how are they rooted in geo-politics)? What does it mean to “control” or domesticate a “wild” fire (such as in a home’s fireplace)?

Attendees are encouraged to come prepared, having read an excerpt announced and made public ahead of time.

Click Here to read about this event on the MAK Center website 

Our first session takes place Tuesday, June 14th, 7:00 PM, moderated by Syd Abady. We will discuss Chapter Four: The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, focusing on pages 132-134.


Syd Abady is an artist and educator living in Joshua Tree, California. Her work incorporates elements of painting, sculpture, social practice, and installation all through the guise of textiles. With this multidisciplinary practice, Syd examines the politics and personalities of the home. She focuses mainly on questions of what makes a home and to whom does that home belong? Through her use of recognizable domestic imagery and materials, Syd creates works that are accessible, yet poetic. She is greatly influenced by her childhood and educational background.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Syd ventured east for university where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). While studying at RISD, she cross-registered at neighboring Brown University, where she pursued coursework in Urban Studies.

Syd’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Satellite Art Fair (Miami Art Week), The Brewery Art Walk (Los Angeles, CA), Woods-Gerry Gallery (Providence, RI), Quality Coins (Yucca Valley, CA), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, ME) as well as the homes of many of her friends and family.