video documentation | Imperial Line, Kunstraum Zürich, 2016
3 indust. air humidifiers (Typ Brune B500 Electronic)
3 indust. heaters (400V)
1 hair hygrometer (by Fischer)
The temperature in the exhibition space averages 27 to 35 degrees at an humidity of 80%. Within the scope of the thematic exhibition, our intention was to broach the issue of insubstantial power. We question the possibility of creating a work which is at the same time insubstantial and dominant. The compelling mellifluence of the warmth, the exhibition took place in winter, is in the end perceived as an accumulation of energy; as a conquering force.
The term «Imperial Line» refers to a book by American landscape architect Fletcher Steele, Gardens and People (1961), in which he makes the following observation about Chinese imperial architecture and garden design: “…nothing could stop that line. On it went, upstairs and down, through walls and fortresses, temples and banquet halls as it possessed a sacred essence…“ defining a certain indomitability towards anything which stands in its way.
In 1783, Horace Benedict de Saussure (1740-1799), a Swiss physicist and geologist, made the first hair hygrometer, using a human red hair to measure humidity. This type of mechanical hygrometer makes use of the principle that organic substances expand and contract according to changes in relative humidity. Human red hair, since it is strongly hygroscopic, reacts the most vigorously to rapid changes in temperature and humidity of all hair types.