Wildfire (meditation on fire)

2019-2020,  single channel video projection, 3D animation, stereo audio, color, 24 min, in collaboration with Musea Brugge


Biological programming, still existent in today’s living creatures dictates a reflex to stay away from fire if it cannot be contained (i.e. a wildfire). A ‘meditation on fire’ may therefore sound like an impossibility. Previous works such as Sunrise (2009) and Reflecting Sunset (2003) included images filmed directly into the sun, looking straight at a raw 93,000 lux. These works are all about the wonder of images. How can so little do so much? A video projection of the sun emits a poor few thousand lumen but will still generate a human reflex - briefly - searching protection against too much light.

Inspired by the inquiry in the amount of power needed to produce a digital “still life” of fire (likely to set the computer system on fire) the work confronts the biological and the digital. Long shots of silenced fire appropriate the notion of biological breathing time, while the abstract nature of the burning fire becomes a reference to the technological abstraction linked to its making, suggesting the increasingly abstract world we live in.

In Wildfire (meditation of fire) the camera has been removed and disintegrated into a numerical system of binary codes. We are confronted with an illusion of an image, a hallucination, a visual construct of computing. These images create an immersive experience of the otherwise un-experienceable.


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David Claerbout ©2022