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

Which will come first: 2020 or the end of the world?

In recent years, pollution has become an increasingly alarming problem, which can be traced back to the outrageously high levels of toxic nitrogen oxide in the air from our vehicles. For that reason, Germany has started to implement rules and regulations in hopes of reducing these pollutions. Attributable to Germany’s status as a renowned leading automobile manufacturer in the world, it should come as no surprise for them to center their anti-pollution plans on automobiles. Unfortunately, certain implementations such as the bans of diesel cars may require a considerable amount of time, which we cannot afford.

In addition, any noticeable change and improvement towards the environment can only be observed at least two years after the implementation. This is another cause of concern, evident by the statement made by Hendrik Wuest, the transport minister of North-Rhine Westphalia, one of the German state. He believes that an alternative solution to the problem would have been discovered in the next two years, causing the ban to be redundant and futile. An interview published on Saturday by the Rheinische post newspaper revealed Wuest’s stance on the matter.  He brings to light new anti-pollution plans that can be challenged in court, but the verdict itself would take about 2 years, much like the aforementioned implementations. He strongly suggests that bans can be prevented since affected cities have taken the matter into their hands to figure out solutions and measures to be taken to reduce the toxic chemicals in the air.

On Tuesday, the Federal Court in Germany has given cities an authorization to ban diesel cars that contributes heavily to the pollution in their areas. This is an appalling news for automobile manufacturers because they will have to raise their costs of production to build more environmentally friendly exhaust systems and leave combustion engines behind.

Vehicles that run on diesel have always been a large factor of air pollution in the streets, but much like every other factor that contributes negatively to the impact on the environment, vast amount of capital, in addition to time and energy, is needed in order to make a change. This is difficult to achieve because of the capitalist system that nations sought after; A system that is based on profit maximization and self-interest. This is clearly discernible from the increase in the cost of productions for exhaust systems above-mentioned, placing the responsibility on the automobile manufacturers. Furthermore, such drastic measures could bring about problems in the nation’s economy on a larger narrative. While cities are able to ban motorists from polluting the streets, it is important to consider the effects on personal lives from an economical aspect. While the cost of production rises for manufacturers, there is no doubt in the consequent rise in the price of these newly produced environmental-friendly vehicles. This could severely impact consumers who are in the middle to lower income group.

Those who have previously owned diesel cars will now have to sell them at a price that is presumably little to none. A possible approach would be a trade-in to car companies, which will undoubtedly attempt to compensate for the higher costs by unloading the responsibility onto the consumers. As a result, the consumers will be the ones who bear the burden of the movement. This, in turn, decreases their purchasing power, which will then cause the economy to be in a rut. This is especially alarming for Germany since they’re one of Europe’s largest economy and its collapse would lead to a butterfly effect towards the global economy. All things considered, nonetheless, the environmental issues have gradually turned into a harsh reality and if prolonged, will lead to the end of the world. The probable outcome should serve as a warning for large companies and manufacturers to ease up on the profits for the greater good. 

France Plans to Be Rid of Fossil Fuel Powered Vehicles by 2040

Amidst a flurry of commitments by carmakers and governments around the globe to increasingly adopt hybrids and fully electric vehicles, France announced Thursday that it plans to end the sale of automobiles powered by gas and diesel by 2040. The average lifespan of a fossil fuel powered automobile is 15 years, so such vehicles could disappear from French roads by 2055.

The plan is part of France’s multi-faceted effort to fulfill its responsibilities under the Paris Agreement, a concerted effort amongst many United Nations members to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. France will also aim to stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022.

As of today, 153 of the UN’s 193 members have ratified the agreement. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact in late May.

India and Norway, who also signed the agreement, have made plans bolder than France’s to rid their countries of traditional cars. Norway will sell electric automobiles exclusively by 2025; India will do so by 2020.

Germany, another Paris Agreement participant and a member of the International Zero Emission vehicle alliance, will require all newly registered vehicles to be emissions free beginning in 2030. As part of its Paris Agreement efforts, it will strive to reduce carbon dioxide production by 80-95% by 2050.

Wednesday, Swedish automaker Volvo pledged to stop producing cars powered solely by fossil fuels by 2019. Other auto manufacturers around the world are expected to make similar resolutions in the near future.

Neither of France’s two biggest car manufacturers, the PSA Group and Renault, reacted to Thursday’s announcement, which is expected to compel both companies to begin allocating increased resources to the production of electric cars.

Renault has already taken strides into the electric car market. In 2011, the company began producing one of the world’s first fully electric cars, the compact Zoe. Today, Renault offers five electric vehicles, three of which are one hundred percent electric, two of which are hybrids. The Zoe is the best-selling one hundred percent electric car in Europe, and its popularity is increasing. In the first half of 2017, Renault sold 17,000 Zoe’s, almost as many as it sold in all of 2016.

France’s announcement, along with the similar moves by Norway, India, and Volvo, should trigger an influx of funds into the clean energy transportation sector, as investors look to capitalize on the trajectory of the market. However, if France fails to support its ambition with effective incentives and regulations, the plan could fail.

In addition to offering incentives and imposing regulations, France will have to build an infrastructure to accommodate electric cars. For one thing, charging stations will need to be erected alongside and eventually in place of gas stations.

The statement Thursday did not detail the strategies by which the French government will implement its plan.

“It’s great to have a vision,” said Greg Archer, director of clean vehicles at advocacy group Transport & Environment. “We have to now see the policies put in place to deliver on that vision.”

The number of government and private companies making efforts to reduce their environmental footprints is encouraging. In fact, the 2015 Paris Agreement may be the most important step ever taken toward widespread international cooperation to take better care of the planet.

But as bold as the promises being made are, it remains to be seen how effectively and efficiently they can be implemented. Germany has admitted it will fall short in its effort to produce 1 million electric vehicles (mostly hybrids, presumably) by 2020. Tesla, Inc. has encountered roadblocks as it ramps up production to meet increasing demand.

“It’s a very difficult objective,” France’s environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, said in regard to Thursday’s announcement. “But the solutions are there.”

Archer says France is “absolutely” moving in the “right direction.”

The question, of course, is how far they can and will go.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

Companies That Change the World: The Woman Behind S’well

We’ve all been there: you run out of the car for a second, accidentally leaving your coffee in the cup-holder. When you return, your coffee is lukewarm, and your spirits are crushed (coffee is one of the foundations of society, ask anybody). Or even worse, it’s a sweaty summer day, and the only thing getting you through it is your frozen water bottle. Too bad that a twenty minute drive to the beach leaves that frozen water bottle dripping with condensation, and not even cold. These problems are not just your own, but Sarah Kauss’s as well.

Via For Front Magazine
Via For Front Magazine

Kauss, the founder and CEO of S’well (a company that is rethinking how and what people drink) was going through the same exact issue. Kauss was literally hiking up a mountain (suffering from a too-warm water bottle situation) when the idea for S’well hit her: what if there were an environmentally friendly, sleek, water bottle that kept cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot (for longer than a couple of hours)? And just like that, the S’well bottle was born.

Says Kauss on the S’well website, “The mission of S’well is to get single-use, disposable beverage containers out of landfills and out of the ocean.” Created from non-toxic 18/8 stainless steel (unlike most beverage containers, which are composed of plastic-lined aluminum), the S’well bottle keeps cold “drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, while giving back to those in need. S’well is a charitable community member and proud partner of charitable organizations such as WaterAid, American Forests, and Drink Up,” says the S’well site. Each S’well bottle, on average, will save the environment approximately 3,000 plastic bottles, according to S’well.com.


Via Swell
Via Swell

The overwhelming popularity (the First Lady is a big fan) of the S’well bottle has led to multiple sizes, colors, and even finishes (from glitter, to matte, to limited edition designs, like a mustachioed one for No Shave November)—making the S’well bottle the ideal choice for everyone.

Currently the S’well bottle is sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, the Middle East, and Asia—meaning that it’s actually changing the world, one bottle at a time.


Photo Via Swell

U.S. Vessel to Destroy Syrian Chemical Weapons

A U.S. ship loaded with toxic chemicals departed from an Italian port Wednesday, July 2, for an operation to remove and destroy about 1,300 tons of Syrian arms.

According to the New York Times, the specially equipped U.S. vessel, the Cape Ray, left the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro after a 12-hour transfer operation. The ship took the last of Syria’s known supplies of chemical substances from a Dutch ship, the Ark Futura, nine days ago.

The Huffington Post reported the Cape Ray is sailing to the open sea to destroy the weapons, including mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas.

The Cape Ray uses two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems—mazes of tanks, tubes, cables and electronics—to handle the destructive chemicals. The systems will mix the chemicals with heated water and other chemicals in a titanium reactor. U.S. officials said no waste will be released into the atmosphere or the sea because they will be disposed in places that are equipped to handle toxic chemicals.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a Netherlands group that has been monitoring the project, said in a statement that the “transloading took place without incident.” It also expected the disposing operation would take around 60 days to complete.

Gian Luca Galletti, Italy’s environment minister, was proud to be involved in the project, and she said Italy was doing this for worldwide security in a “transparent and environmentally secure operation.”



Modern Meadow Raises 10 million for Bio-Printed Leather

New York company Modern Meadow announced it has raised $10 million for bio-printed leather production.

The startup company can grow meat and produce leather in the lab without killing large numbers of animals, and it is planning to use the raised money on research and product development as well as expanding its New York City research headquarters.

“Our goal is to develop new cultured leather materials with advantages in design, performance, sustainability and animal welfare,” Andras Forgacs, CEO and founder of Modern Meadow, said. “In the longer term, we are also developing meat products that are healthier, safer and don’t require harming animals or the environment.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Modern Meadow intends to use tissue-engineering technology called “biofabrication” to produce meat from skin cells and meat from muscle cells, which is more environmental-friendly than the traditional methods of killing animals.


Read also: Scientists Build Artificial Blood Vessels with 3D Printer


Modern Meadow’s new method of producing meat and leather will reduce the impact of livestock production, which is the biggest contributor to global warming.

The Wall Street Journal referred to a study by Research and Markets that said leather products are expected to reach $91.2 million in sales by 2018.

Modern Meadow said the investment is made by Horizons Ventures, a Hong Kong based firm led by Li Ka-shing, which has supported many worldwide projects, such as Facebook, Skype and Siri.

“We are delighted to partner with Modern Meadow, whose truly innovative and disruptive solutions, together with its increasing cost-effectiveness, can help address global resources challenges,” Bart Swanson, of Horizons Ventures, said.



Photo: Modern Meadow employees at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.Modern Meadow Inc.

(not the most interesting)


Edit: Scott

Recyclable LYF Shoes Sold Made-to-Order

Aly Khalifa, founder of Gamila Company, is creating a lot of buzz for the company’s next big project, LYF Shoes. Their business model offers environmental sustainability that competitors’ shoe factories do not. With the use of 3D printers, LYF Shoes will be customized shoes that are sold made-to-order.

“It’s basically assembling shoes not that differently than you would assemble hamburgers, on demand and at the point of sale,” Khalifa said.

Khalifa likens his vision to a hamburger shop, but it has not yet been announced how quickly the shoes could be printed. 3D printers currently can take two minutes to print out a single paperclip, so complex shoe designs may have customers shopping around elsewhere until their order is ready.


Read also: GeckoTek 3D Printer Innovation Meets Kickstarter Goal in One Day


Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Gamila Company is known for the Teastick, an invention of Khalifa’s, and it also manufactures single-serve coffeemakers.

Khalifa believes Gamila Company is already on its way to making LYF Shoes a reality; they just need seed capital.

According to Triangle Business Journal, LYF Shoes already has garnered the support of Cherokee through the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge, and they created a lot of interest at this year’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.

Because of the 3D-printing technology, the shoes could be assembled without the use of glue or toxic adhesives. Additionally, they are recyclable, as customers would be encouraged to return their worn-out shoes to LYF.

“We would disassemble them and make new shoes,” he said. Khalifa added that the shoes will never see a landfill, according to Triangle.

LYF Shoes are projected to cost around $150, and they would be capable of collecting data for daily foot action and mobility.

LYF Shoes’ slogan, “Love Your Footprint,” speaks of the shoes’ self-tracking technology and encourages customers to feel proud for their environmentally sound decision to purchase recyclable shoes.

Shoes Made to ORder -BIZNOB






Photo: LYF Shoes