Julian Charrière, the Conceptual Artist

“Charrière focuses on investigations of the natural world, revealing the profound force exerted by humans and the environment on one another and highlighting how ecological systems can exhibit traces of human energy,” as phrased by Artsy, the online source for fine art.

Originally from the district of Morges in Switzerland, Charrière was born in the year of 1987 and is of Swiss-French descent. He began his tertiary education in pursuance of art at the École cantonale d’art du Valais in Switzerland. However, he later transferred to the Berlin University of Arts in Germany where he eventually completed his studies under Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute of Spatial Experiments) in 2013.

Julian Charrière is a Berlin-based artist who presents his work in the form of sculpture, photography and performance by way of conceptualism. The changing cultural knowledge of the natural world and its processes are key mechanisms that are explicitly present in his projects. Charrière frequently travels to remote locations such as Kazakhstan and the Southern Cone in pursuit of inspiration and knowledge of the natural sciences, in addition to the attainment of earth materials which he uses to create his artwork. He often explores distant spots that are hazardous due to their exposure to natural disasters such as volcanoes and icefields.

“I use some scientific methods, but I would describe it more as an archeologist or geologist. I go into the field and get inspired by what I see, then I bring things back to the studio and do work,” he explains.

One of Julian Charrière’s most alluring project is the on-site performance titled Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others in which he collaborated with Julius von Bismarck, another renowned artist, for La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennial), the 13th International Architecture Exhibition that happened in 2012. Since then, Charrière and Bismarck have worked together recurrently, notably in 2016, to produce Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear, Desert Now and so forth. Charrière has had his projects featured by Das Numen, the Berlin-based art collective, in addition to his solo art expositions. He has had his work exhibited all across the world ranging from Europe to Asia. Several of his most recent expositions were located in Parasol Unit Foundation for Art in London, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel in Paris, Dittrich and Schlechtriem in Berlin, Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India and so on.

Charrière was presented with the Kiefer Hablitzel Swiss Art Awards first in 2013, then again in 2015. The prize-winning exhibition in 2013 is named after a quote by Buckminster Fuller – We Are All Astronauts on A Little Spaceship Called Earth. This project deals with current issues centering around the concept of occurrences that alters the relationship between space and time as well as their conditions with respect to the growth on a worldwide scale. Not long after, his piece was featured in a curated section at the Lyon Biennial of Palais de Tokyo. A year later, in 2016, Charrière was granted the Kaiserring Scholarship for Young Art. He was subsequently announced as one of the three artists who were nominated for the BMW Art Journey 2017 during Art Basel in Hong Kong. Within the same year, Charrière’s art piece was showcased in Viva Arte Viva, the 57th international Art Exhibition curated by Christine Macel for La Biennale di Venezia.

For the Armory Show that took place over the past few days, a number of Julian Charrière’s pieces were featured under the Dittrich and Schlechtriem gallery. Two of the most exclusive sets were the Future Fossil Spaces – materials used include salt from the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and acrylic containers filled with lithium-brine. It is an installation comprising of three hexagonal towers constructed by salt and plaster. The other piece is titled Bokbata II – Terminal Beach, 2016 and is presented in the form of a sizeable monochromatic photograph.

“To date, his works has explored post-romantic constructions of ‘nature’, and staged tensions between deep or geological timescales and those relating to mankind. Charrière’s approach further reflects upon the mythos of the quest and its objects in a globalized age. Deploying seemingly perennial imagery to contemporary ends, his interventions at the borderline of mysticism and the material encapsulate our fraught relations with place today,” concluded by Julian Charrière’s online platform.

Featured Image via Dage – Looking For Europe

Japanese Artist Arrested for ‘Distributing Indecent Material’

Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, 42, was arrested for obscenity charges due to her art that explores female genitalia. The artist vowed to challenge her arrest and declared from behind bars to defy a culture of “discrimination” against openly acknowledging the vagina in Japanese society.

On July 12, Igarashi was arrested for distributing indecent material with a potential sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. According to reports from the Kyodo News Agency on Saturday, July 19, Igarashi has been released from jail.

“That was an unjust arrest. I don’t think my genitals are obscene. My body is mine. It’s not acceptable that something is determined to be ‘indecent’ from a purely male point of view,” Igarashi stated upon her release. Although she has been released from jail, the charges still remain a possibility if she is found guilty in court.

via Megumi Igarashi
via Megumi Igarashi

Igarashi worked under the name “Rokudenashiko,” meaning “good-for-nothing girl.” The artist built a kayak that was shaped like her vagina after she managed to raise around $10,000 through crowdfunding. As a thanks to her donors, Igarashi sent 3D-printer data of her scanned vagina, which had been the digital basis for her kayak project. Igarashi has described her work as a pop-art exploration of the manko, which is Japanese slang for vagina.

Upon her arrest, Igarashi recalled that about 10 police officers appeared at her home. Initially, she thought they would only want to confiscate her work.

From across a plastic security divide in a central Tokyo jail, Igarashi could not help laughing a little during her conversation with officers who she described as “grim-looking.” Igarashi described how shocked she was about the arrest saying, “I did not expect to get arrested at all. Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, ‘This will be a good story.’ Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged.”

Over 17,000 people signed an online petition for Igarashi’s immediate release on the website Change.org, a source for grassroots petitions.

Japan’s definition for “obscenity” is ambiguous. Thereby, the biggest issue in court will be determining if the vagina falls into this definition. According to the artist’s defense lawyer, Kazuyuki Minami, “It will be a difficult battle.” Minami, has also noted, “Igarashi has sparked a debate about women’s rights and the freedom of artistic expression.”

Japan’s pornography industry is regulated by a section of the criminal code dating back to 1907. To avoid obscenity charges, video pornography in Japan frequently applies digital mosaics in order to distort the images of genitalia in sex scenes. The vague description for obscenity was defined by a supreme court case in Japan in 1951. This definition stipulates that obscenity is something that, “stimulates desire and violates an ordinary person’s sense of sexual shame and morality.”

Igarashi’s original intention with her work was to challenge the double standard of female and male genitalia that is prevalent in Japan. On her website, she explained how the vagina has, “been such a taboo in Japanese society. It’s been overly hidden, although it’s just a part of a woman’s body.”

Artist Creates Program to Block Google Glass

There was a time, not so long ago, when Google Glass was the talk of the town. Companies and individuals alike became ecstatic over the ability to fit a tiny computer screen over their eye. But once the dust cleared and the hyped settled down, many people have began to question the little camera that you can’t quite tell if it was on or off. Well, a German artist has become tired of wondering and has apparently come up with a crafty method of answering that question.

His name is Julian Oliver and his solution to the problem was to just simply disconnect the tech eyewear from the internet. Oliver has done so by identifying a unique string of characters located in any Google Glass MAC address. All you have to do is connect a USB network antenna  to a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone mini-computer, and then the computer goes ahead and runs the program.

The software will then automatically disconnect or block any Glass device that attempts to connect to the WiFi network. It even emits a beep when a user is caught trying to connect. The program is fittingly dubbed Glasshole.sh. The idea was hatched after Oliver heard about a NYU student who had posted a negative review of Glass wearers at a school exhibition event. Oliver wrote, “It was not possible to know whether they were recording, or even streaming what they were recording to a remote service over WiFi.”

He has not been the only one with such concerns. Shortly after Google Glass’s release, many institution began banning the eyewear. At this point the script is mostly an unproven demonstration, though Oliver was successful at bumping Google Glass from his own network during a testing. If the program does prove that it is capable of being repeated on a broad scale, then there might just be a chance that we can protect ourselves from the see all device after all. Oliver argues that there is nothing illegal about the jammer as long as the computer running it is owned by the same person who owns the network.

Julian, however, has warned that the same principles he used to construct this current jammer could be used to create a more aggressive program. He has already admitted that he plans to start constructing another program that will be capable of knocking any Google Glass off of any network. Oliver stated, “These are cameras, highly surreptitious in nature, with network backup function and no external indication of recording.” The 40 year old German is adamant that he has the right to know if he is being recorded, and there are plenty of people willing to back him up.












Photo: Courtesy of Julian Oliver