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PHILOSOPHY BY FIRE —On the work of Minerva Cuevas

On 12 October artist Minerva Cuevas got up at 4 am to give us a guest lecture on her work from Mexico City. Minerva has been working at the intersection of Art, Environment & Politics since the early 90s when she ran her 'Mejor Vida Corporation' from a skyscraper office and travelled the world distributing student ID cards. Recently, she has taken on a wide range of subjects such as: Extractivism, Colonization, Oil Industry, Borders, Water resources.

NatGeo, 2013

A Draught Of The Blue, 2012

Donald McRonald, 2003

Dodgem, 2002

Popocatepetl, 2007

The discovery of invisible nature, 2019


The title of this mural comes from philosopher Paracelsus (b.1493), who describes the universe in his book "Philosophy by Fire" as an organism in which natural things harmonize and sympathize between themselves. His worldview represented a creative perspective of the old organic knowledge later forced underground by industrial capitalist thought. Cuevas' painting links the ecological crisis with collective actions opposing the reification of nature. In California she researched wild fires, its ecology and contrast with the fire management by native populations. A key figure is the Smokey the Bear official campaign linked to how total fire suppression has often been contra-productive for wild fires prevention. Cuevas’s interventions into images and objects stress the role corporations play in the devastation of natural resources and deliver a messages of non-compliance and resistance.

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