Heat Signature, 2018
Mixed-media installation with FLIR infrared camera. X4 industrial heaters, condenser microphone, 10 x 10-foot live video projection, drop ceiling and audio testimonies. Commissioned by MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, New York.
This site specific installation,juxtaposes a design for the Great Seal of the United States that was unsuccessfully proposed to Congress by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin in 1776 with a FLIR Systems Inc. thermal camera. Doing so, the work underscores inherent relations between American national myths, religious beliefs and quests for power and control. In Heat Signature, Jefferson and Franklin’s rejected design, which depicts the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt with America serving as the “New Zion,” is brought to life with an infrared camera and electric heaters. As the heaters turn on and off and the image of the Seal, which is embedded in the ceiling—unseen to the eye—heats and cools appears and disapears. Testimonies by a drone sensor operator, a criminal defense attorney and a media scholar—voices reflecting on the new temperature-based visual regime—are presented by Keren in three audio-recorded interviews.