Ignis mutat res: Reflections on working with fire

Marc Higgin

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This article is a reflection on my fieldwork experience working alongside the sculptor Alexandra Engelfriet. Over the course of 2013, we built a series of improvised, ‘ephemeral’ wood-fired kilns, each one constructed around individual clay sculptures far too large to fire otherwise. As I will show, the level of practical involvement these kilns demand marks them out as somewhat of an anachronism, going against much of the progress in firing technologies that have characterized the industrialization of ceramic production over the last 300 years here in Europe, as elsewhere. As such, these kilns serve as an interesting pyrotechnology with which to engage critically what we mean by energy and its place within social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-16
Number of pages5
JournalAnthropology Today
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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