Thermal Drift

“Thermal Drift” is an interactive artwork that visualizes the dispersion of body heat as emissions of thermal energy in the form of slow-moving packets or quanta that flow away from the participant. The project uses a thermal camera to detect heat, and a particle system to visualize its dispersion, while computational image-making reveals the porous boundary between body and environment.

Thermal cameras, which are increasingly used in policing and military contexts, are instruments illustrative of asymmetrical power wherein bodies made subject are rarely given the opportunity to see themselves in imaged form. In such applications, body heat, an essential human signature signalling life becomes a target that puts that vitality at risk.

In “Thermal Drift” the camera is placed in a safer and more playful environment, which affords it the opportunity to illustrate how body temperature paints personalized portraits, while using a shared signature of the human condition. The dispersive effect of “Thermal Drift” reveals how the human does not end at the skin but is in conversation with the surrounding atmosphere. Here dispersion also activates a re-distribution of power normally held by the position of image-taking, to allow the “spectral subject” to be on the witnessing end of the image.

General info

Year of creation:
2022

Standalone

Technique:
custom made generative software, computer, thermal camera, display
Power:
around 300W on 110 OR 240V, plus the monitor needs
Dimensions:
variable
Edition:
6 Editions, 1 AP

Treatment

Technique:
custom made generative software, computer, thermal camera, projector
Power:
around 300W on 110 OR 240V, plus the projector needs
Dimensions:
variable
Edition:
1 Edition, 1 AP

Exhibitions

  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: EXCUSE YOU!, Wilde Gallery, Basel, Switzerland, 2022.

Credits

  • Programming: Hugo Daoust
  • Production Assistance: Tim Belliveau, Amir Rostami, William Sutton