Currently on display in the exhibition ‘Air’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Mona Hatoum’s large-scale globe Hot Spot 2006 maps the continents in startling red neon, casting viewers in an emergency-red glow. Hot Spot is at once a map and model of the Earth: an underlying structure laid bare; an energy system; and a stainless-steel cage measuring just over two metres in circumference.
Mona Hatoum ‘Hot Spot’
‘Hot spots’ are often understood as distant conflict zones that are seen as ‘other’ or isolated. By extending a sense of heat across the entire globe, Hatoum complicates this sense of distance, suggesting that geopolitical conflict affects us all. Hatoum proposes our whole planet is a hot spot, constantly redefined by the struggle for power: whether through war, disease, social unrest or structural inequity. Hatoum seeks to bring the experiences of those suffering or living without freedom into the gallery, creating a space of shared social consciousness.
Throughout human history, globes have symbolised travel, freedom and discovery but Hot Spot conveys a world that is wired, dangerous and overheating. With global warming affecting every region on Earth, today the work assumes a new environmental urgency as a sizzling omen of change to come.
Edited extract from the accompanying exhibition publication Air available at the QAGOMA Store and online.
‘Air’ / Gallery of Modern Art, Gallery 1.1 (The Fairfax Gallery), Gallery 1.2 & Gallery 1.3 (Eric and Marion Taylor Gallery) / 26 November 2022 to 23 April 2023