Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany; Photo Jens Ziehe
Aluminium, stainless steel, diamond made out of carbon extracted from ambient air and human respiration
h=205, ø 46 cm
Touching the Void consists of a swordlike, shiny new oil well drill bit, hanging above the heads of the visitor. The sculpture is tipped with an artificially created diamond, the product of an inverted mining process. Instead of extracting minerals from underground, Charrière collected molecules of carbon dioxide from directly the air above glaciers in Iceland, using a novel carbon capture technology developed by a team of scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) lead by Prof. Dr. Aldo Steinfeld. Charrière supplemented this collection with the CO2-rich exhalations of people from around the world. The drill is extracted from its context, hanging in midair rather than turning underground. The appropriated tool allows us to understand the shifting composition of a world in which mined materials from the earth have become integral parts of the atmosphere, mainly through combustion. Hanging above our heads like a sword of Damocles, is warns of the dangers of merging ground and sky.