[Exhibition]Julian Charrière: As We Used to Float


“As We Used to Float’ is an interrogation of our position in the world, and of the world as different atmospheres. I think that’s something that you learn once you’re diving; that you’re never above, you’re never underneath, you’re actually within. You are within more than you are at the surface for the simple reason that the volume and the weight of your body is similar to that of the water.”

                                                                                                                                          –Julian Charrière   


As We Used to Float is a physical, three-dimensional experience that reveals the legacy of those atomic tests both above and below sea level. Seventy years after the United States began testing thermonuclear weapons at Bikini Atoll, the artist Julian Charrière set off on an expedition to an area rendered permanently uninhabitable for human life as a result of the environmental contamination. These unintentional monuments symbolise the interaction between anthropogenic and natural transformations. For Julian Charrière, they also mark the point in history when humans became one of the biggest factors influencing biological, geological and atmospheric processes on Earth. 

Reference: https://www.museumsportal-berlin.de/en/exhibitions/julian-charriere/

After getting out of the first part of the work, which is a film about under and out of water in Bikini, my impression of the installation is that it is a really successful piece that create an atmosphere which makes the viewer spontaneously move around cautiously, with the gloomy color tone, the vaguely identified giant objects and the juxtaposition. The feeling of being underneath, the feeling of being in water is throughly communicated. The shape of the space of the exhibition allows me to walk pass those giant objects that are hanging from the ceiling — they seems massive yet light-weighted, with the reflection of lights on the ground, almost like giant fish in the deep sea. I really appreciate the choice of material and the deliberate composition of the installation, as to me, it almost feels like a three-dimensional painting,  since all of the objects are displayed freely yet balanced in the space.