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Overall the project Suri//Nordic Heat Maps modulates the idea of the classical portraiture moving towards an understanding of the face as a sensed, mapped landscape; a wet zone full of microbes. It is inspired by the French biologist Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) and his discovery of microorganisms and their complex symbiotic interaction with their surroundings. Humans are colonized by many microorganisms; many more non-human cells as human cells including bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses.

 A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the values contained in a matrix are represented as colors. Suri//Nordic Heat Maps consists of 8 generated heat map-portraits reflecting cultural value differences in relation to nature represented as colors.

The heat maps are based on photos taken by the German photographer Hans Silvester of tribe members from the Suri Tribe from the west side of the Omo River in the Omo Valley in south-western Ethiopia characterized by there use of natural headwear of flowers, fruits, leaves, grasses, shells and animal horns, and the nordic collaborative photo project Eyes as big as plates between the Finnish-Norwegian artist duo Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth characterized by a search for modern human’s belonging to nature presenting elderly people in landscapes dressed in elements from the surroundings.

All the portraits literally integrate the surrounding landscape into the motives making nature acts as both content and context, but the colors in the two cultures’ heat maps have different chroma intensity. The local vegetation can be said to affect the intensity in the color maps, but the way we see and use nature also have an impact, and as such illustrate the different color schemes different cultural values.


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