Thermodynamics of a singularity

by Lorenzo Bacci e Flavio Moriniello


Shortlisted Charta Award 2023

Thermodynamics of a singularity (ToS) is an attempt to document the mandatory lockdown due to COVID-19 using an experimental approach.
ToS is conceived as a visual diary built upon thermographs, photographs, extracts from books, film-stills and scientific images.
The project arises from observing phenomena related to mass communication, contemporary history and visual culture.
First of all, we have noted in recent history the tendency of mass media to confer singularity to most events. Each of them is followed by the appearance and widespread diffusion of images related to it — previously barely known — capable of being deeply enrolled within the collective imagery, generating a significant political, social and epistemological impact.
So, what is the image that represents the pandemic?
In a public health emergency context, with the impression of being at war against an invisible enemy, arises the need for control and monitoring: recording human temperature appears to be the most immediate approach to determine the threshold value between physiological and pathological.
Consequently, to regulate access and make public spaces safer, a device of medical imaging and military vision appears: thermal imaging cameras.
In this context we have observed how thermal images have migrated from techno-scientific environments to public spaces. They become images familiar to the community and therefore iconic of the pandemic.
For this reason, thermograms point out a frozen time and space related to the lockdown showing the reorganization of spaces, the reconfiguration of life and the altered perception of the outside world.
ToS explores a new type of Homo Sapiens whose integrated circulatory system is composed of connections between organic and non-organic material.
Eventually, the heterogeneity of the materials employed wishes to reflect on what is knowledge and the relationship between vision, visibility, representation, perception and power. In fact, converting temperature into visible images underlines the combined importance of technology and invisible data in the construction of reality.
All of this attempts to construct a metaphorical discourse on the pandemic and its implications:
ToS embraces contemporary issues shared globally that change our perception of reality from now on.