Richard Mosse | Heat Maps


carlier | gebauer is pleased to present Heat Maps, a new body of work by Richard Mosse. Heat Maps attempts to foreground the biopolitical aspects of the refugee and migration situation that is facing Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The project charts refugee camps and other staging sites using an extreme telephoto military grade thermographic camera that was designed to detect and identify subjects from as far away as fifty kilometers, day or night. 

The camera itself is export controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations — it is regarded as a component in advanced weapons systems and embargoed as such — and was designed for border surveillance and regulation. It can be seen as a technology of governance, a key tool in what Foucault and Agamben have described as biopower. It is an apparatus of the military-humanitarian complex. The camera translates the world into a heat signature of relative temperature difference, literally reading the biological trace of human life – imperceptive of skin colour – as well as proximity to death through exposure or hypothermia, even from a great distance. The living subject literally glows, and heat radiation creates dazzling optical flare.

Installation Views

  • Richard Mosse, Heat Maps, 2016, installation view, Moria, 2016, digital c-print on metallic paper, 126 x 431,5 cm

  • Richard Mosse, Heat Maps, 2016, installation view, Idomeni, 2016, digital c-print on metallic paper, 103 x 304 cm

  • Richard Mosse, Heat Maps, 2016, installation view, Larissa, 2016, digital c-print on metallic paper, 126 x 435 cm