Lightning Fast Body Temp.
Lightning Fast Body Temp. brings together a collection of temperature check receipts that have accompanied my home delivery food orders since April 2020. The practice of conducting body temperature checks of those responsible for the making, handling, and/or delivery of the order was implemented as a COVID-19 safety measure to promote the carefree consumption of food delivery app services in India throughout the pandemic. While body temperatures are recorded and collected on the app for every food delivery order, the receipts in this collection are infrequent additions included with the order by some restaurants.
Although temperature checks remain an inconsistent and arbitrary measure for detecting the virus, it continues to administer everything from entry into public space to the ability of workers to carry out work. Meanwhile, the widespread recording of these temperatures has resulted in an extensive new database of information built upon bodily surveillance – one that like all methods of pervasive surveillance has its origins in a vague promise of safety from threat.
While neither comprehensive nor exhaustive as a collection, the receipts gathered here form a personal archive that indexes a material trace of this recent and widespread form of data collection. In doing so, it marks my personal consumptions, but it also highlights and gives shape to a new regime of bodily surveillance, one that has seemed to slip by unnoticed, right before our eyes.
Nihaal Faizal is an artist based in Bangalore, India. His works respond to the copy, the replica, the remake, the gadget, and the gimmick, often reflecting upon media documents from popular and cultural memory. In 2018, he founded Reliable Copy, a publishing and curatorial practice for works, projects, and writing by artists.