Jordan Crandall at Sandra
by Mónica de la Torre
from ArtNews, May 2001
Every two years, the binational--Mexico and the United States--arts project InSITE invites artists from the Americas to develop site-specific projects dealing with border issues, and displays them at various venues in Tijuana and San Diego. Jordan Crandall participated in the 2000 edition of InSITE with Heatseeking, a series of seven films shot in 16-millimeter and on video using surveillance and miniature "stealth" cameras as well as infrared thermal-imaging systems. The mere catalogue of equipment he used to produce these powerful and disturbing films, which were on view here along with photographic stills, underscores Crandallís main concerns--the pervasiveness of ever-more-efficient surveillance devices and the paradoxical threats they pose within the private realm.
Crandall assembled the footage to generate nonlinear narratives that shift perspectives at disorienting speeds. One sequence interlaces a distant image of a naked woman crawling across the border; a woman in a hospital bed, her belly being cut open; an aerial view of the Tijuana/San Diego highway; the lanes of the highway from the perspective of a woman at the wheel of a car, with the window frame metamorphosing into that of a video game; and a naked couple at a riverís edge engaged either in sex play or wrestling. This sequence suggests that there are similarities between the ways in which law enforcers patrol the border, doctors scrutinize the human body, and men and women gaze at each other. Much like the infrared thermal-imaging systems from which he got the exhibitionís title, Crandall senses hot issues and very effectively makes them visible.