Heat Signature is the culmination of Tali Keren’s on-going research into Judeo-Christian ideology and the military-industrial complex. Juxtaposing Thomas Jefferson’s rejected 1776 design for the Great Seal of the United States with a FLIR Systems Inc. FC-R thermal camera, Keren underscores the inherent relations between American national myths, religious belief, and the quest for power and control.
The re-creation and manipulation of Jefferson’s imaginary design – depicting the Biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt in which America serves as the ‘New Zion’ – through a heat-based performative sculpture, allows Keren to explore the effects of thermal surveillance methods on bodies and mediascapes.
Conjured-up imagery lies at the heart of the exhibition. Jefferson’s phantasmic vision is brought to life with the assistance of an infrared camera and electric heaters. Yet, it is in the constant appearance and disappearance of images, in the tension between the visible and the invisible, that the viewer is propelled to ponder the relations between militarized media perception and the meaning of ‘temperature seeing’.
The exhibition is organized by The Agency for Legal Imagination operating throughout 2018 at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38.