The Commemorative Lights: UCSB’s Pardall Tunnel

On May 23, 2014, Elliot Rodgers, a local SBCC student, went on a rampage stabbing his two roommates (Weihan Wang, Cheng Yuan Hong) and their friend (George Chen), then later driving through Isla Vista killing three UCSB students (Katherine Cooper, Veronika Weiss, Christopher Michaels-Martinez) and injuring another fourteen people during his destructive outburst. (Isla Vista Rampage victims remembered).

The association between lights and the memorialization of deceased loved ones is seen prominently throughout many of the rituals that our society carries out in response to a death.  One example of this seen in today’s society are candlelight vigils, a practice in which participants honor loved ones by gathering at night with candles to celebrate and reflect on communal memories. Below, members of the Santa Barbara community gather for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the victims of the Isla Vista shooting.

Image by Paul Wellman: Santa Barbara Independent

A year after the tragic shooting occurred, Marcos Novak and Kim Yasuda, two art professors at UCSB created what is commonly known as the “Pardall Tunnel Lights” installation to remind the Isla Vista community of their strength and to memorialize the tragic event that sent the community into mourning. However, the Pardall Tunnel Lights, are only a section of a larger piece designed by Novak and Yasuda originally named “Hesperus is Phosohorus” which relates the Greek morning and evening star being one in the same. The orginal name given to the Pardall Tunnel Lights is “Uguisukangei” after a Japanese reference to a nightingale floor (Light Passages).

The Pardall Tunnel lights both literally and figuratively illuminate the path that connect the UCSB campus and the Isla Vista Community (Light Passages).  Each and every day as students travel to and from campus, they pass through this tunnel and experience the delight of flashing lights that shadow their movements.  Many Students or visitors, like myself, may not have known the significance of these lights at first glance, yet could still appreciate their beauty and uniqueness.  To those of us who collectively experienced and remember the tragedy that stuck the Isla Vista community the Pardall Tunnel lights hold a much greater significance.  The lights serve as a site of memorialization for the victims of the tragedy, allowing people to mourn and pay respect to the deceased.  Yasuda and Novak assert the tunnel’s concept is to build the community by coming together in participation and connecting with one another.  Through collaboration, the Isla Vista community has illuminated the uneasiness of their town and spirits.

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Photo by Author

The Pardall Tunnel lights serve as a site of memorialization in which members who pass through the tunnel collectively remember the tragedy.  In “What is Collective Memory”, the author points out that, “Halbwach’s suggested commemorative events were important to reinforce autobiographical memories” (Britton). Therefore, each time members of the community pass through this tunnel that connects Isla Vista to the UCSB campus, they will experience the beauty of wavering lights and associate the lights with the memory of the Isla Vista community uniting in remembrance of the victims.

Works Cited

Britton, Dee. “What is Collective Memory.” Memorial Worlds, 2012, https://memorialworlds.com/what-is-collective-memory/. Accessed 13 June 2017.

“Light Passages.” UCSB Current, 22 May 2015, http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2015/015453/light-passages.  Accessed 13 June 2017.

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Oil Spill United City of Santa Barbara in 1961

 

The city of Santa Barbara became united in 1969 when a economical tragedy hit the shores. About 5 miles off the Santa Barbara coast, there was a crack in an oil platform that allowed 3 million gallons of oil seep into the ocean. The effects of the spill were immediate and harsh, as black sludge covered the water for hundreds of miles. The shores of Santa Barbara beaches were ruined, as tar still remains evident on the shores today.

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“Get Oil Out” boycott

After the spill, signs of strength from the Santa Barbara community began to show as they created programs to help recover the mess.

Santa Barbara promoted the “get oil out” (GOD). The purpose behind GOD was the get people to stop driving, and to boycott gas stations that sold oil from off-shore drilling. Also, the program promoted a petition of 100,000 signatures to ban the continuation of off-shore drilling.

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Community workers recovering SB Shores

Santa Barbara continued to grow stronger as people conducted several volunteer beach clean ups that consisted of hundreds of people shoveling tar off the shores.

Shortly after the spill, the disasters of the spill began to gather the nation’s attention. President Richard Nixon visited the sight of the spill and shared his thoughts with the nation announcing, “It is sad that it was necessary that Santa Barbara should be the example that had to bring it to the attention of the American people” His words brought attention to the environmental programs, and sparked the beginning of the environmental movement. Many laws were passed due to the oil spill intending to protect the economy future events.

The laws passed following the spill:

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Signing of National Environmental Policy Act 1969

  • National Environmental Policy Act 1969
  • Environmental Protection Agency 1970
  • Clean Water Act 1972
  •   Endangered Species Act 1973

The fast transition our nation made to fix the economical issues is what made this oil spill significant. The Santa Barbara oil spill was the third largest oil spill in history, and it could have been way worse. When a accident like this occurs, it takes the unity of a whole community and nation to pull together and give a helping hand in recovery.

Looking back to before the oil spill, Ari Phillip’s article reflects on a man named Bud Bottoms said, “I came here after World War II, the harbor was beautiful, the beaches were fantastic, and the ocean was transparent. Then one day an invasion came—and in came the derricks.” Bottoms explains that the beaches of Santa Barbara were a thing of paradise until it was hit with the dramatic disaster in 1969.

The beaches of Santa Barbara have made a recovery over the 40 years. The shores of Santa Barbara did take a bad hit in 1969, but time recovers everything. Although, time can not tell when the remains of tar will fully disappear from the shores, when you visit the beaches of Santa Barbara today, you can still expect a beautiful sight.

 

What we can not forget looking back on the tragic economical accident, the Santa Barbara oil spill acted as a warning to improve our environmental programs. The negative effects the oil spill gave to the Santa Barbara beaches will never be forgotten, as they live through the environmental movement which it sparked in order to protect the future economy.

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Santa Barbara Beach 40 years after spill

 

UCSB’s “Eternal” Flame Unlit & Unremembered: The Irony of it’s Insignificance Today

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photo credit: Sonia Fernandez

The UCSB graduating class of 1968 had big aspirations and high hopes for the Gauchos that would precede them. Their contribution to the school in response to the black student takeover on campus and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. that year would leave a lasting effect on the campus for years to come – for what the contributors hoped would be eternity. Unfortunately, the “Eternal” flame that was gifted to the university 48 years ago by a class that endured a hard struggle for peace in times of civil unrest held more value to past generations than it does to the students who walk by and barely notice it and recognize it’s significance on campus today.

In the defense of the current UCSB students, the flame is no longer lit and so the meaning behind the eternal flame is harder to grasp by onlooking students who see only a cement trivet in the middle of the grass between the library and lecture halls. In a March 2016 Daily Nexus Article, UCSB students are urged to put the effort into relighting the flame and putting the money into making it more “eternal” like the alumnae wished.

Historically, the eternal flame has been used as a symbol to commemorate a certain person or set of ideals that promote peace and the need for unity between people in the community. The Erection of UCSB’s Eternal Flame came after a great leader in the fight for equality and peace in the brutal segregated times of the late 1980’s was slain. His – as well as two other influential leaders who were murdered by people who did not agree with their preachings – President John F. Kennedy and his brother and senator at the time, Robert Kennedy. – quotes were engraved on the three sides of the monument that stands on campus.

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“The large house in which we live demands that we transform this worldwide neighborhood into a worldwide brotherhood.” – Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. 

 

In the last half-century, the monument has been used as a symbol of peace and harmony following times of conflict in order to take strides towards the brotherhood MLK Jr. hoped for the world. In 1987, the Daily Nexus newspaper  reported on a relighting ceremony of the eternal flame which featured the mayor of Santa Barbara along with the mayor of our Russian sister-state, Yalta that occurred at the end of World War II. During the ceremony, American Peace Movement organizer David Crockett Williams III emphasized the importance of reviving the flame and the implications it had on the student bodies goals for a more peaceful community and world.

“We are rejuvenating the hopes of the sixties…by relighting this monument for the actual cause of world peace.” – David Crockett Williams III

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Even with his efforts for the permanent relighting of the flame though, the wind blew it out again and again until the gas leading to the area was eventually turned off and the flame was not relit until another event occurred at this site, only for it to blow out again during or after the presentation. Days like MLK’s birthday in January of 2003 brought back observers who had similar ideals to the three men who all fought for world peace and are represented on the plaque.

The monument has endured a life full of history and conflict from it’s original lighting, multiple relightings, and the events and practices that have occurred there since then. These events function to honor the men who died in the fight for world peace and reflect the values of the UCSB students who put it there and helped it to remain lit as a promise of their desire for peace. The eternal flame not being lit reflects our generations mindset that larger conflict is not occurring and resembles a “not seen, not felt” outlook on the world and on our history.

The UCSB community alone has has many tribulations in the past decade including riots, car massacres, shootings, and more civil conflicts – the need for the light of the eternal flame is still heavy in this small 1×1 mile town. Although we have taken other steps towards commemorating those who worked towards peace and have also taken other steps towards unifying the community, the eternal flame is a monument that can link us to our past Gaucho’s and remind us that the effort put towards world peace is a step in the right direction, but this journey has no end.

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“…And seek out the ways of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step.” – President John F. Kennedy

 

 

Murals of Remembrance

If you take a look at your surroundings carefully, you will notice that there are places and/or objects that are of great significance, but they are not noticed until you examine and question their existence. Many murals are painted by talented individuals in order to share a message, or to give to a community a reflection of themselves.

For example, above is the Turtle Mural on 6568 Sabado Tarde. It is a memorial for the Isla Vista Massacre victims. Gauchos wanted the mural to reflect the respect and love that they have for the students who passed way. This mural symbolizes the history of the massacre, and at the same time, is a reminder of strength to the fellow gauchos. The details of the mural are descriptive of the incidents that occurred in the community. To relieve those tough emotions, UCSB artists expressed them and turn it into a gift for Isla Vista. 

This mural by Maclovio, in Ciudad Juarez, is representational of a reoccurring issue . This mural addresses the horrific issue of femicide that has been happening since 1933. It is set near the border, where female hate crimes usually occur. It gives condolences to the devastated loved ones, as well as informs the public of this tragedy. The artist shows  his admiration of these girls by emphasizing their beauty that sadly is dangerous. The girls that are most likely to be targeted, are those that are “slim with big brown eyes and long brown hair,” which is depicted in his art piece but explained in the article. Maclovio also adds in the Mexican flag, the Rio Grande, and the Rio Bravo to make this not only a local concern, but a global concern as well.

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Photo Credit

The next mural painting, “Los Niños Del Mundo,” by Emigdio Vasquez,  was made with the help of Elementary and Jr. High School students. It is meant to symbolize the hope of unity for incoming generations. It is located near Lemon Park in Fullerton, California. It is an addition of previous murals that beacame essential to the town’s history.

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Photo Credit

The following photo of a 911 Memorial Mural, by Fred Hatt, illustrates the importance of having the murals in a public space. They allow people to come together and commemorate events passed. Also, it keeps those significant events in our present life, through the art expressions that the artists leave behind. These events being honored in our present life allow us to move past these tragedies and eventually make peace with them.

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Photo Credit 

Murals are commonly seen in public or popular spaces, usually to send a message and/or to illustrate a community’s history.

 

The Taking of North Hall: what we can learn from an act of civil disobedience.

Have you ever had that gym teacher who forced you to play a certain activity in P.E. that no one in the class wanted to do, or maybe a coach who wouldn’t let you take a break when you really needed it?  Well you’re not alone.  My older brother, a supreme soccer star, was subjected to one of the most dense soccer coaches.  This coach ignored my brother’s skills because he was a freshman in high school, and, in his sophomore year, the coach would acknowledge his ‘improvement’ at the school sports awards, in which, all the parents glared at him because they all knew how great a player by brother always was.

This was an innocent form of ignorance on the coach’s part, but, many years prior in the University of California Santa Barbara, the Athletics Director of the university would be accused of a far more bleak form of ignorance: racism.

In October of 1968, there would be reports of the UCSB Athletics department restricting and ignoring athletes of color.  The situation, according to Canceller Cheadle, was under investigation, but would later result in the reports being deemed as false and the Athletics department innocent despite the 400 protesting students that would argue against it.  As detailed by the living history project, a protest would break out later that month at the school’s computer building: North Hall.

The Santa Barbara Sentinel reported that the protest began on a Monday morning when a mob of 16 African American students entered North Hall, barricaded the doors, and took the school’s main computer hostage.  The computer was worth 2 million dollars, and held the data for all the students on campus.  Two of the protesters stood next the advanced machine carrying hammers and threatened the building’s techs that they would destroy it if they interfered.  These activists then renamed the building “Malcolm X Hall,” and preceded to give out their demands.

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Taken by me at the “a vision of change exhibit” at North Hall

The demands, as provided by the El Gaucho,  were as followed:

  1. The establishment of a commission designed to investigate problems resulting from personal or individual racism.
  2. The development of a college of black studies of Black Studies.
  3. Reaffirmation of President Hitch’s directive calling for increased hiring of minority persons.
  4. The hiring of a black female counselor of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).
  5. The appointment of black coaches “whenever this becomes possible.”
  6. Non-condonement of any harassment by any students, whatever color.
  7. The development of a community regulations staff to be “actively prosecuted.”
  8. The firing of Athletics Director Jack Curtice and Arthur Gallon, head of the Physical Activities Department.

Chancellor Cheadle was prepared to have the students kicked out, but one of the professors, Mr. Charles Hubbel, called upon the crowd of white students outside the building to “honor the courage of the men who have occupied the building.” With the support of the crowd, and the computer held hostage, Chancellor Cheadle agreed to seven of the eight demands because he refused to fire Curtice, nor Gallon.

This was an unbelievable result at the time.  This simple act received a heavy following, forged it’s way into UCSB’s history, and, most importantly, it gained the school valuable resources that would help prevent future segregation.  The actions of the protesters may have seemed rash; however, several reports of the event stated that the protesters were actually quite polite, and seemed to only care for having their demands heard.  One was reported saying: “Look, leave us alone and we’ll leave the computer alone.  We have your mechanical brain. Give us justice.”  All the protestors wanted was to have their voices heard and to have justice, and ended up succeeding in capturing the attention of a mass mob, and had almost all of their demands granted.

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Today in 2016, we are plagued with police shootings and an obviously rigged election.  The whole matter of civil rights is being brought back into question, and people have been unable to vote for who they want, or who they would want, had the media not influenced the wrong people.  When we look back to how a pack of 16 individuals stood up for their rights, and how they sought to see change, we can remember the struggles they faced back then, and stand up ourselves.  A mass mob of 400 students couldn’t change the minds of those in charge, but 16 brave students could.  What we need to do is to get the voices of the people out there so that the opinions that matter can be heard by all.  We don’t need to go through the lengths they did, but what we do need to do is to encourage small groups of courageous activists with opinions that can better our country or even the world.  That is why we remember the students who took over North Hall, and what we can learn from it.

Portal To The Past

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away” – Eudora Wetly

‘Blacks Take North Hall’ was the headline on October 15, 1968 in UCSB’s school newspaper, El Gaucho. That day a group of twelve students, all from the Black Student Union (BSU), barricaded themselves inside a room on the second floor of North Hall that contained the university’s IBM mainframe. From there the students demanded the university eight things that they wanted to see happen or change.  Some notable demands were to have a Black Studies department created, a commission established that investigates problems formed from individual racism, and to have a black counselor hired in the EOP program.

In 2012, almost half a century later, the BSU of UCSB demanded a mural to be created depicting photographs of the events that took place on that Monday morning in 1968. A rather simple, yet powerful way of creating a portal to the past.

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(Panoramic Photo of North Hall Mural at UCSB)

When I look at these photos I am pulled in. The specifically chosen photos allow me to delve in. The photos elicit a sense of power, determination, and passion. For those members of the BSU in 2012, a reassurance that a voice is still heard, and an indicator that the power of change has lived on through the generations.

As Eudora stated, a photo is an unbreakable chain around a moment in the past. It is something that when one looks at, they are placed in the photographer’s shoes. They are guided to feel the sensations the photographer felt in the moment. They are guided to the understanding of what others felt around the photographer at the moment

The accumulation of the catalytic properties of a photograph enables one to remember a past. A viewpoint of a person there. You become a spectator. Thus, the past thrives in the present. The minute you step into the photographer’s shoes you’re clouded by the illusion of the past. The past becomes what was once the present for small amount of time.

The mural’s simplicity, being merely composed of photos, allows one to spectate the past through photographer’s lenses. Being placed into the shoes of the photographer is one thing. But to define what they saw is the remembrance, a memorial. The essence of collective memory.

The photo of two young black students speaking into the mic with the look unity and purpose.

A photo of a young woman stating her point with determination.

The photo of the BSU members on the second floor. All with different facial expression. Different feelings.

The innocent snapshot of a white boy and black boy looking at each other with the expression of ‘What is going on?’

The photo of a black man making a claim with a powerful finger pointed to the ground.

This is what I see. I can’t speak for all. However, I’m 19 years old and attend UCSB. I am in the crosshairs of the mural. The intended audience.

Photos

‘Dialogue between students over North Hall Occupation’

 

Photos 1

‘BSU Students in North Hall, October 14, 1968’

 

Photos 2

‘Cynthia George, Free Speech Rally, spring 1969’

 

Photos 3

‘Two children look at each other in front of North Hall’

 

Photos 4

‘For nine hours, BSU students spoke about grievances at UCSB’

 

Photos 5

‘Rashidi makes a point’

 

Photos 6

Members of United Front march on administration building with Black Power salute’

 

Photos 7

‘Black run-ins with the law drew charges of police harassment’

 

 

Light in the time of darkness

 

 

 

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The new LED lighted Pardall tunnel inspired by Marcos Novak and Kim Yasuda

What is the Pardall Tunnel?

The Pardall tunnel is a small tunnel that connects both UCSB and the Isla Vista community. Built in 1967, it used to be just any tunnel with a bike path and sidewalk for people to come and go as they please. But just recently last year in 2015, it became a place where people can ponder and remember things. it has earned so much more significance now, and is more than just a tunnel.

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The Pardall center outlined with the Blue tea lights to support solidarity and Bluenite IV

Hesperus is Phosphorus

With the inspiration of art professor Kim Yasuda and the help of Marcos Novak, another professor at UCSB, they turned this simple tunnel into the light out community needed in a time of darkness. After the tragedy of a massive shooting here in isla vista that killed 6 people and injured others our community was looking for something that would help us remember these people and help our community heal. With solar powered, motion sensing LED lights the tunnel is illuminated all day everyday in honor of these lives that were lost and in respect to those who survived. The idea of the LED lights was available because they are sustainable with no wiring and they come on at night. it is a message to let people know they are welcome and safe once they enter or exit campus. After the installation the whole project tunnel has thus been names Hesperus is Phosphorus in reference to the greek morning and evening star being one and the same. The lighted tunnel itself was names Uguisukangei, a japanese term for the nightingale floor. The lighted garden that follows has been named Ikimin Aquino Spe’y chumash for new star flowers. Novak said, ” the field of light project is meant to resemble a field of poppies during the day and stars in the sky at night.

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Isla Vista brought together by Bluenite after the one year anniversary of the tragic shooting back in 2014

Bluenite IV

After this installation in 2015, local businesses and homes down pardall and downtown loop in Isla Vista, have been encouraged to outline their buildings with blue tea lights in a trail that would then culminate with the illumination of the isla vista love and remembrance garden. This event has been called Bluenite IV. and has also included paper bag lanterns with tea lights that extends to the end of may. This night to remember has been thought of something that should be done annually to resemble solidarity in our community. the vigil starts at Storke tower and ends in the people’s park with an open mic.

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Hand made trail of paper lanterns down Isla Vista as part of Bluenite IV and to honor the new tunnel and the meaning for it

 

works cited

Leachman, Shelly. “‘We Are All UCSB'” The UCSB Current. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. .

By the Dedicated Staff of Edhat.com. “Pardall Tunnel Art Installation.” Santa Barbara Edhat. EdHat, 16 May 2015. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. .

Yelimeli, Supriya, Cheryl Sun, and Juliet Bachtel. “Art Installation To Light Campus.” The Daily Nexus. Daily Nexus, 13 May 2015. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. .

Salay, Mark. “Blunite Lights Up Isla Vista.” Blunite Lights Up Isla Vista. Santa Barbara Independent, 21 May 2015. Web. 01 Sept. 2016. .