Storytelling with Technologies for Fire Retardation

4k video, 20′ 00′
Bleiswijk (2020)

A moment of storytelling while an ‘aluminium wall with glass door’ is burned and tested in the fire-testing company Efectis. With various fire testing set-ups they monitor the speed of combustion in construction and household materials, testing the performance of objects in calamity. The company allowed me to tell stories while they were running a test in their big furnace, stories in order to refer to the social act of gathering around the fire.

The 'stories' are 109 synopsis of bestselling books on the topic of fire, ranging from selfhelp books, to erotic novels, to safety manuals. Each appropriating the concept of fire in their own way: addressing fire as a sought after personality trait, an agent of change, a catalyst of spirituality or a domestic impracticality.

During these 40 minutes of burning the ‘aluminium wall with glass door’, I’m on the work floor in between the specialist and their clients. I see myself as a new link in their sequence of labour, the specialist that are monitoring the performance of the object, the clients that are monitoring the specialist, and I am monitoring appropriation of the term fire.

Together we create a crossroad of ideas on performance, how the specialist performs, how the object performs, and how an artist can perform.