Julian Charrière
Pure Waste

FHD color Video, 16:10 aspect ratio, stereo sound, 05 minutes 30 seconds
Edition of 5 + 2 AP

The film Pure Waste was produced by Julian Charrière during a scientific expedition to the polar ice cap. Set in North Greenland, it documents a material reversal that effectively inverts the conventional geological mining process. The artwork begins with several shots that capture the atmospheric quiet of the Arctic. It presents as a serene and desolate vista, until a human hand interrupts the scene. Slowly entering the frame, it opens to reveal five diamonds which are then tossed into a glacier mill.

With this intervention, Charrière aimed to repeal the anthropogenic obtainment of large masses of natural resources from the underground by extracting carbon dioxide molecules from the air itself. In an alchemical reversal of matter, these carbon molecules were then turned into diamonds. The process for achieving this was developed by a team of scientists from ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), led by Mechanical and Process Engineering Prof. Dr. Aldo Steinfeld. The collected carbon dioxide was then increased by including the CO2-rich exhalations gathered from people from across the world using balloons. The mingling of breath and atmosphere was made ever more poignant by the Covid-19 pandemic, where collectivist meeting and airborne exchanges became politicised. By looking at the emotionality and anxiety connected to breath, Pure Waste proposes a new sense of togetherness made possible by the borderless nature of air.
In the artwork the lightness and formlessness of air is heightened by its transforms into the hardest material known to naturally occur in nature. In this way, Charrière realizes a dizzying material shift where complete intangibility becomes total solidity. By then returning these diamonds to the glacier mill, Pure Waste actively engages with the Polar cap. It offers these tiny fragments back to the strata as atonement, effectively conferring with the stoic glaciers themselves. By doing so it acknowledges these sites as oracles of the 21st century—places that though they exist far from civilisation have been creaking, melting and crying for our attention since decades past.
Yet this gesture of pure waste becomes an act of reconciliation. By throwing the most shining objects of our desire into oblivion we concede the arbitrary value attributed to them and instead return the mineral home. It is a hope that we may one day close the destructive cycles once so haplessly opened.

About Julian Charrière

Charrière's work is a blend of conceptual explorations and poetic archaeology which includes performances and photographs as well as installations.

Other Artworks by Julian Charrière

In past Exhibition

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