The Intermission x Fitzpatrick Gallery
Cooper Jacoby / Sun is bile
26 March 2022
Four thermostats monitor the temperature in the room and tell stories as they repeatedly ask themselves: how will I survive? The tone of the narrative changes according to the heat and humidity around them. They become more skeptical, manic, doomer or altruistic relative to their environment. They change color as their surfaces warm and cool.
It was once believed that each body is made up of a unique mix of four governing humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Each of these substances carried with it a specific weather, season, color and personality. People could be four types – sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic or melancholic. Humors and these figures of the self live on in the underbelly of predictions, classifications and truisms.
Four street lamps hang over the space with sagging intestines for lenses. Video illuminates the guts. Something recognizable or unabstracted will emerge in the churning of color and down-sampled images before disappearing again into the feed.
One of the earliest forms of prediction was to examine the entrails of a sacrificed animal, looking into its viscera for patterns on which to base decisions. Just as conspiracies congeal from bits of random events, these intestines became ways to understand and digest the present, guiding which futures could be imagined.
There is a whistle which follows the mood swings of these machines.
From 14°C to 30°C, liquid crystals undergo a gradient of color changes from black to brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Above and below these indoor temperatures, the spectrum is less stable.
Sometimes the language of the thermostats seems to crack apart. One once read, “Mirror is engine, Sun is bile.”