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Inverting the Monolith (2019-2022)

Inverting the Monolith is a multi-channel video installation that focuses on mining exploration in close proximity to Chile’s Parque Andino Juncal. It amplifies the voices of local activists from the Guardianxs del Akunkawa network, who are dedicated to exposing the impacts of these explorations on local glaciers and hydric systems.

Under the military dictatorship of Pinochet (1973-1990), a mining law was passed which separated land ownership from the mineral resources beneath the Earth’s surface. The "Codigo Minero" thus enables concession owners to mine or ‘explore’, while bypassing the wishes of the surface property owners. The sites of these ecological violations are marked with mining monoliths or survey monuments—pyramidal structures made of concrete and stone that define the territory.

Parque Andino Juncal is a privately-owned protected area in Chile’s central zone, located in the Andean Mountains, where altitudes reach 5,000 metres above sea level. Embedded within this staggering landscape is a vital hydric network of glaciers, rivers, streams, Andean vegas, and underground springs. Unique in South America, the area has been recognised as a site of international importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is regarded as an endangered ecosystem.

Inverting the Monolith draws attention to the chasms that this kind of exploration—such as that perpetrated by the U.S.-financed mining exploration company Nutrex—leaves behind, and its adverse effects on the glacial ecology of the park, such as the creation of dams that pose a major threat to the water network. It excavates and highlights the unseen: both the covert mining activities that violate local land laws, and the surveillance work conducted by activists aiming to expose these illegal pursuits using drones and camera traps.

Images from the camera traps are intermingled with material recorded by activists, such as phone footage, which together creates a visual dialogue and multimedia narrative chronicling the progress of mining exploration in the area. The monitoring and documentation of fauna forms part of a wider strategy to contest the mining threat and show the value of conservation within this high-value ecosystem.

Developed in collaboration with video editor Lara Garcia Reyne, environmentalist Tomás Dinges, and sound designers Gregorio Fontén and Udit Duseja. It includes contributions from local activists Martín Sapaj-Aguilera, Guillermo Sapaj-Aguilera, Denisse Contreras, Felipe Ignacio Maldonado, Rodrigo Aguilera.


Supported by
Museum Sinclair-Haus in Bad-Homburg, Germany for the exhibition Ewiges Eis, 2022.
Solid Water, Frozen Time, Future Justice, a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) collaborative project with Louise Purbrick and Xavier Ribas.


Inverting the Monolith video teaser


Inverting the Monolith, Musée des beaux-arts, 2023
Ewiges Eis, Museun Sinclair Haus, 2022


Parque Andino Juncal
Alianza Gato Andino
Guardinxs del Akunkawa


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Im a Chilean born, London based visual artist and researcher.

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