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Maria Kokunova – Pyromaniac (2018 – 2019)


Who is it we see when we see ourselves? G. Heivoll «Before I Burn» The year of 2012 – a wave of fires swept through Ulyanovka, a small village in Leningrad oblast, Russia. The peak was in the first two years. According to official data in the period from 2012 to 2013, there occurred 90 fires, 32 of which were caused by arson. The exact number of victims is not known. One version of the investigation was that behind the fires there was a pyromaniac – a man with a manic compulsion to set fires. He was never caught. Since 2016, the number of fires has decreased. I am interested in the phenomenon of pyromania*. This is a rare psychological defense mechanism** It is detected among fewer than 1% of the population and is very difficult to diagnose. According to one version, the onset of the desire to set fires starts in the childhood or adolescence due to some irregularities in the development of the personality structure. Pyromania occurs as a reaction to trauma, as a special form of defense...

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