World of Warmth started around 2005, with a concept to visualise the use of energy related to food. Not only production of food, but also transport, conservation and consumption. Infrared seemed to be the ideal medium for this purpose, as it visualises surfacetemperature it’s a great technology to show energy used for heating and coolling. I teamed up with 3 thermographic specialists and made a pretty big collection of food items at HAS Den Bosch, for example this condensor.
After the collection about food we recieved a question from a publisher if we also had an infrared image of a lion. Nope, but we could make one. So, on a very cold day, Coen and I took of to Safaripark de Beekse Bergen to capture some animals in infrared, including the lion:
Ofcourse there were many many more animals to capture using an infraredcamera, so we did. It was fascinating to find out how animals regulate there bodytemperature, a system called thermoregulation. The various ways to adapt to cold seemed to be pretty obvious to register:
Fascinated by the concept of thermoregulation, the way life juggles core-tempeature, it makes sense to also take a look at human thermoregulating strategies. Beïng Dutch, there is only one way to go, ask Wim Hof, the Iceman, as he takes thermoregulation to Olympic levels.
As the collection expanded, during the growing awareness of climate change and the need so save energy, thermoregulation seemed the perfect glue and infrared the perfect medium to tell the story. The clip Cold is Nothing was made to explain about coldbridges in construction :
Infrared isn’t a very common way to look at the world around you though. Except for a relative small specific group of people, like engineers, soldiers, police, firefighters, researchers, meteorologists and vets (and the fans of predator movie ofcourse :-). In general people find it difficult to interpret colors as surfacetemperature. Over the years IR-technology became cheaper and available for a broader audience though. During covid infrared images became more visable in media and in public spaces. Infrared camera’s are used to check for fever in airports for example. Also the amount of infrared images available at stockphoto agencies increased a lot last 10-15 years.
Personally I am very fascinated by “hidden strategies” which are used by animals to save energy. Infrared is an awsome way to make these strategies visable. Ever heard of “brown fat“? Around 2015 this clip was made of a cold bat waking up using some magic fat around his sholderblades which can instantly turn warm. Combined with some shivering, increasing bodytemperature to take-off-temperature.
Another great example is the way moths prepare themselves for take off, no sunlight needed to warm up, just vibrating wingmuscles:
Another magical thermoreguling strategy often used by animals is nestmanagement. How do you keep a bunch of tiny kids warm when it freezes outside? This is a challenge for piglets, polar bears, rabbits, hedgehogs and many more. I focussed on pigs and mice to register nestmanagement in infrared. As the growing process takes a few weeks, timelaps is a great feature:
Besides animals, building and architecture is an interesting topic to capture in infrared. As this is the most practical application to learn about thermogregulation and to save energy I made several “thermal portrets” of special houses and buildings. For example this clip of the Pret-a-Loger, a demo-building by TU Delft. Or this one about the use of passive warmth in the Solarlux office. A thermal impression of the beautifull buildings at the Paleiskwartier in Den Bosch:
As architects and builders mostly look at the inside of a building and technical installations to solve thermal issues, they often overlook the big cooling effect of trees. Infrared is a great way to show surfacetemperatures of for example asphalt and the cooling efffect which green can have on these surfaces.
Basically “World of Warmth” is about learning to see warmth. Warmth is everywhere and our quest for thermal comfort can explain a big part of our energybill. It’s not only about indoor temperature, but also about behaviour, food and clothing. Learning from nature makes sense. Check the biomimicry website “asknature.org” and learn: How does nature stay warm ? .
Any ideas for new topics, questions, remarks or applications, please ask, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a nice, warm day,