The Barbarians



Jean-Gabriel Periot is an artist and film-maker with a special focus on the innovative and precise editing of archival material. He uses films and photos, recordings from television, drawings, animation and graphic elements, web-sites, songs, and audio recordings to create his dense political narratives that often capture moments of crisis and engage with violence and human rights. In an approximation of and search for reality, he juxtaposes, manipulates, edits, implements, and stages his raw material and found footage. In his video work The Barbarians (2010), Periot shows an abundance of posed group photos of political events, such as heads of state attending the G8 Summit, alternated by photos of military and police groups, sports teams, and family pictures. Progressively, in Périot's whiplash montage, the order is dissolved by meshing and juxtaposing images and scenes, and new scenes and orders appear. Faces of activists are highlighted not even for a second, their faces often covered, and images of agitation and protest are shown, leading up to scenes of violence. Périot places special emphasis on the sound design and often cuts his work to the tempo of a piece of music. In The Barbarians, as the rhythm of the score and the montage slows down, the scenes become more and more dramatic: street fights, destroyed areas, burning objects and people. By the end, everything is in flames. The narrative unfolds without a commentary and relies solely on the composition of images and sounds. The Barbarians ends with an insert, a statement by French philosopher Alain Brossat from his book La résistance infinie (2006): "If politics were to come back, it could only be from its savage and disreputable fringe. Then, a muffled rumor shall arise whence that roar is heard: 'We are scum! We are barbarians!"'


global aCtIVISm
exhibition catalog
ZKM Karlsruhe 2013