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Controlled Burn

Controlled Burn

Noor Riyadh Festival




JAX District




Continuous video loop, 32'00"

From the atmosphere to the deep sea, Controlled Burn (2022) and Midnight Zone (2023) may appear oppositional, but embody a similar warning message. The former invites the viewer on a cosmic journey through deep time, soaring through an aerial landscape of imploding fireworks.

Shot with a first-person drone, this disorienting voyage takes in open-pit coal mines, decommissioned oil rigs, and rusting cooling towers. The implosions are intercut by flashes of ferns and moths: beings that evolved in the carboniferous forests that today constitute much of our coal. Linking celebratory pyrotechnics with extraction architectures, explosive momentum, and technological obsolescence, Controlled Burn stages the fantasy of a dramatic return to sources of energy via implosion: a time before smoke. In turn, the light installation Midnight Zone lures the visitors into the deep sea. Staged like an abyssal dream machine, it features a classical Fresnel lighthouse lens, which casts spinning beams of intense light around the room. This same beacon was previously sunk by the artist more than a thousand metres below the surface of the sea, where it encountered biomes and bioluminescent creatures beyond the usual purview of humankind. It is presented in a tangle of the four-kilometre long cable which sunk it, appearing as an uncanny and netted sea creature, surrounded by dried salt. This action and site-specific installation are an invitation to reflect on the incomprehensible and unexplored parts of the world, endangered by anthropogenic action and prospective extraction.


Controlled Burn,2022 ©Julian Charrière
Midnight zone,2023 ©Julian Charrière
Commissioned by RCRC and Riyadh Art





by Julian Charrière
Noor Riyadh EXHIBITION 2023