u2p050 "Thermal View 1"
Print on alu and light box
This photographic series, captured by a thermal camera and interpreted by a QuadTree algorithm, draws on Georges Bataille's concept of "expenditure" to explore the world of blockchain, a technology whose robustness and tamper-proofness rely heavily on energy expenditure. Referring to the relationship between thermodynamics and information theory, this series establishes a formal link between value and sacrifice, the concepts of energy and information. Thermal cameras, by capturing temperature fluctuations, translate the thermal variations of a scene. Areas with marked temperature differences, and therefore significant energy variations, are information-dense regions. The QuadTree algorithm segments these images, highlighting the intensities of thermal gradients with detailed nodes, while the more homogeneous zones, reflecting lesser energy variations, are simplified to the extreme.
In Bataille's work, expenditure is defined as the use of resources for economically non-productive activities, such as art, celebration or war, closely linked to the sacred and transgression. These concepts find a contemporary echo in blockchain, particularly in Proof of Work networks, which rely on high energy consumption to ensure the security and validation of transactions. According to Bataille, this consumption is both a technical necessity and a manifestation of expenditure. It would be possible to see energy extravagance, such as that of blockchain, as a form of modern sacredness. Nevertheless, the paradox is tenacious, since work is reduced to its minimum: a simple expenditure of energy. But it retains the economic morality of a puritanical society where no value should be attributed without work. Expenditure becomes the primary condition of value, not its externality.