Julian Charrière’s video project with frequent collaborator Julius von Bismarck, In the Real World It Doesn't Happen That Perfectly, utilizes the phantasmagorical boundlessness of the desert to stage a piece of fiction. The project depicts what appears to be a series of arches and totemic hoodoos—ancient geological marvels forged over millennia—detonated with explosives, dust clouds rising from the blast. Expertly edited and mastered, one would never guess that the rock formations were fake imitations destroyed in a similar but different location than the one shown in the final version.
The absurdity of imitating mother nature toys with the unfathomable scale in which the original counterparts to their facsimiles were formed. Within the desert landscape, its expansive sprawl synonymous with limitlessness and untamed freedom, the mind is able to freely explore these notions of time and place and creation both natural and man-made. By destroying the brand new ancient wonders, it notes how quickly thousands of years of growth can be destroyed in a single instant, the destruction actually expanding our idea of what the place means within the cultural landscape.
The videos of the structures being blown up were anonymously posted to a number of websites known for released leaked content, alleging that they were taken in Utah by a group vaguely labeled as “extremists” or “ecoterrorists.”
In addition to well over a million views across different platforms (not considering ripped and reposted versions), the videos have since been commented on by news agencies around the nation and internationally, with the Utah Department of Natural Resources releasing official statements which switched from the possibility of the videos being real to the allegation that they are digitally manipulated. By feeding the endless news cycle in such a way, the act of creating something fake only for it to be destroyed is repeated, calling into question experiential authenticity and perspective.
Text by Nadim Samman