The SketchUp Residency

The ocean can have such an immediate effect on the body; it relaxes you, your pulse softens, and stress dissipates. You feel changed. This is the feeling of your body reacting to the largest living mass on the planet. It’s this mysterious entity that contains an ecosystem above and below its vast, glassy surface. Just a century ago, the ocean floor was largely unknown. Now we know that the deep oceans have features such as mountains, deep valleys, and vast plains. Far below the ocean’s surface, volcanic mountain chains are rising in mid-ocean zones where plates pull apart. Elsewhere, deep trenches descend in subduction zones where tectonic plates collide and one dives below the other. Who knows what other treasures one might find?

Now, you don’t actually need to dive to 300 feet, hold your breath for 12 minutes, or even get wet to feel the human connection to the ocean. Instead, take a journey in Julien Masson’s fictional scene that has echoes of our past, present and future. In an increasingly technological age, traditional linear chronologies are being replaced by multiple narratives, intersecting and remixing one and other.

He has generated an archaeological dig of a playground taking place in the future, including familiar sites such as swings, slides and a round-a-bout. The inclusion of current playground amusements is a suggestion that this could be the imminent future and allows us to talk about issues that are pertinent to our times. In inventing this dream-like 3D simulation he’s dealing with the concepts of progress, science and mass consumerism in our contemporary societies. Our failures lead to an apocalyptic vision of our world (after another great flood?) where nature is slowly reclaiming urban spaces. There are a lot of references, some are more obscure than others but there is an obvious ecological message about what human activity is doing and what possibly awaits.

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Julien Masson is a French Artist based in the UK. He has a master in computer animation and has had exhibitions in the UK and internationally, on public and private commissions.

All of his works are, in some way related to technology and our relation with it. He attempts to expand the notions of what art is and participate in the very dynamic dialogue between digital technology, science and the arts.

The works are often formed of meshes or strands (paint, pla, clay or digital) intricately intertwined together. They are ambiguous and chaotic but there are also harmonies within created through repeating patterns. These patterns are inspired by fractal and CG generated images through 3D terrain scanning and tomography.