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Forlane 6 Studio's Subaquatic Eco-Fiction

An exhibition, "This Side of Paradise," hosted under the sea and captured in photographs

by David Graver
on 13 October 2017

With "This Side of Paradise," layer upon layer of creative exploration united for an underwater experience that lives on through photography. French-born artists Hortense Le Calvez and Mathieu Goussin (known as Forlane 6 Studio) built temporary wooden structures—arrows, trees and more—which they carefully placed into the Aegean Sea near their home in Hydra Island, Greece. This itself was a temporary exhibition known as "Disoriented," and open to the public—or anyone swimming through. The duo then dressed in custom-made Kalypse wetsuits—crafted in the same color profile as their wooden sculptures. Together with free-diver and photographer Alex Voyer they ventured into the depths to imagine a fictional adventure through a monochromatic forest. "This Side of Paradise" was born.

The duo refers to this work as aquatic eco-fiction, but it's derived from real challenges. "We use the underwater world as a context to explore the emotional side and irrational consequences of climate change," Le Calvez explains to CH. She also notes that they're "aiming to creatively represent the space below the surface as a vulnerable world that needs to be explored, understood and protected." The explorers must also adopt the title of guardian. Altogether, there's a vibrant retro-futurism coupled with comic book-like resonance. The tactile components of within the imagery are gone now, as Le Calvez and Goussin moved them along the coast over the summer, but Voyer's imagery—art in itself—remains a powerful testament to a new vision with a strong message.

Images by Alex Voyer

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