video installation, performance
Phlogistan was a proposed element, falsely believed to be catalyst for all combustion. This performance was my attempt to generate heat, through its visceral experience as well as an act of generosity.
Part I existed in the process. The campfire shown in the video was made from treated pine, carved and rendered ("reverse engineered") to appear as freshly cut wood, placing the fire between states of authenticity (as it did produce warmth) and simulation (as it takes on only the facade of a primitive campfire, and exists now in the digital).
Part II was an act of giving. I prepared a warmth offering, a tea made from ginger (a traditionally, and conceptually "hot" food in Chinese culture), by slicing the root with a knife made from the same pine, and offered it to any willing participant. The ineffective tool dulled as the performance persisted, in a similar manner to how the fire would eventually die.
noun: a substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.