Half Wet

Carlos Irijalba &

What does a hypothetical future look like? Images of the future are often characterized by constantly improving technology and a society that has learned to make good use of research and academia. Other visions of the world in 50, 100, or 500 years are bleak and shaped by the consequences of global warming and capitalism. In Carlos Irijalbas work HALF WET, we see a future that welcomes us with tropical calm, one in which the consequences of centuries of exploitation on behalf of the Global North seem almost forgotten. Bays and sandy beaches captivate the viewer with their innocent beauty. The swimming pools of exclusive tourist locations are emitting an azure glow; their appearance is accompanied by singing cicadas and the sounds of the ocean. Against this background, Spanish artist Irijalba trans- ports the viewer to a futuristic reality at the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. While the pH value of the ocean causes an over- population of some ocean dwellers, it is toxic for others: a result of human-made climate change. Consequently, tourism has turned its back on this earthly paradise. Protagonist Wuicho keeps the tradition of cleaning the abandoned pools of rich tourists alive, an act almost religious in nature. A voiceover speaks to us from the past and reminds us of the human arrogance responsible for the drastic decay of nature — »a beautiful indifference«.

The voice monotonously explains the radicalness of our actions. How radical is it, after all, for people to sleep through a charter flight, as if the ability to fly were not supernatural for us? Or that we construct pools a mere 50 meters from the ocean? While the time around Wuicho seems to stand still, he continues to attend to his daily routine — even
as a storm announces itself. All that once merely felt threatening seems to have already come to pass. The waves come and the waves go. (Riccarda Hessling)

Supported by Mondriaan Fonds

Images: Carlos Irijalba, Half Wet, 2022 © Carlos Irijalba & VG-Bildkunst

About the video

Title Half Wet
Year 2022
Videonale VIDEONALE.19
Length 00:17:20
Format 16:9
Country Netherlands,
Language Chatino and English with English and German subtitles
Courtesy of the artist and Distributed by See NL
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Carlos Irijalba
  • 1979 in Pamplona, ESP, lives and works in Amsterdam, NED, and New York, USA.
    Studied at the University of Fine Arts in Bilbao, ESP, and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NED

Insights at Videonale X

desktop selfie
Carlos Irijalba philosophizes about the expansion of time and draws parallels between our society and minerals.