Tomas Jirku

Unseen Urban Energy

My video looks into the invisible spectra of near-infrared light energy, where plant life is particularly active; and the far-infrared thermal energy emitted by humans and human-made machines, highlighting the energies that create and interact in the urban environment.

A place is a fixed location. Despite the static implications, a place is always changing and always moving. A place in a city is defined by its residents and by the life it sustains. Where there is movement and change, there is energy. Our familiarity with the visible world give us cues to these energies, but only indirectly and superficially, as it doesn’t quantify the energy released by living and moving things. Looking just beyond the visible spectrum is short-wavelength, near-infrared light energy. This is the realm of plant energy. An urban place is made liveable through its integration of plant life, in contrast to the rock-like landscape of concrete and brick. Looking ever further, into long-wavelength, far-infrared thermal energy, we see the heat emitted by humans and human-made machines. My video uses modern camera technology to look into these invisible spectra, highlighting the energies that create and interact in this place.


Tomas Jirku is an Vancouver-based photographer who explores the region’s back country in search of its hidden secrets. Using modern technology capable of capturing beyond the limits of human vision, he translates encounters with the natural sublime to reveal what is past the threshold of our reality.