“How can it be better stated that nostalgia is the memory of the warmth of the nest, the memory of the cherished love for the “calidum innatum.”
Gaston Bachelard, “The Psychoanalysis of Fire”
The following text explores the imageries of heat. Heat, “the quality of being hot; high temperature” and heat´s material imagination are explored through their images, as embodied experience, as they are imprinted in the arts, in visual images collectively, visual descriptive or figurative language. The imageries of heat belong to those images that often escape us. They are not easily visible. They are felt. They need touch to emerge. In other words, they are not approached in terms of our opticocentric culture and this is why they often escape us.
The images of heat in the text are approached through a phenomenological point of view. The aim is to reveal, through observation, the diversity of these images. Images of heat as images of touch, contact, air, senses (aesthesis), security but also as pain and, in any case, as images of an invisible phenomenon. The interpretation of images of heat as non-optical images, a research beyond the rules of visual representations and their analytical approaches, gives the possibility to approach the difficulty in mapping heat and also in capturing aspects of its poetry and the fear of heat.
Heat as an image of a touch -contact-, heat as a filter -distance-, heat as shaping image -formative force-, ash -result-, lost interior -experience- but also as an intermediate body -carrier- are aspects of the imageries of heat which are presented below.
HEAT, THE IMAGE OF A TOUCH
Sensation of heat and contact with it usually does not affect a particular part of the body. It affects body as a whole. Skin, this sensible surface, is the main mediator, this thermometer that gradually and accordingly warns of a rise in temperature, seeks (or not) protection, sweats, seeks to cover itself, moves away, reddens, burns. It is this warning mechanism that will mobilize the body in order to look for the cover, protection, shade, sunscreen, blouse, sweater, awning, air conditioning so that it does not hurt. The skin, an indicator between the inside and the outside, us and the heat, a milieu or a place of minglings. The air is the one that carries it, which can direct heat to our lungs and, accordingly, lead through it to oxygen supply or even up to suffocation.
“The air, an indistinct mixture, has a stronger claim to being our base line. Intangible, you could almost say intact; colourless and transparent, a conduit for light and colour; odourless and a vector for smell; tasteless; soundless when not driven by heat; it penetrates our bodies, ears, mouths, noses, throat and lungs, envelopes our skin: it is the medium for every signal that reaches our senses”.Read More