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Waiting for the Barbarians, 2013

Animated photography, sound, multiple sources, video HD format, 4 minutes, 26 seconds Commissioned by the Onassis Cultural Center for the Visual Dialogues.


Waiting for the Barbarians is part of the ongoing project, I Stared At Beauty So Much, a series of video and photographic works, which try to experiment the way poetry be pitted against the chaos of today’s world.

In Waiting for the Barbarians, Constantine P. Cavafy’s 1898 poem of the same name is recited, describing a city in decline that awaits the arrival of the barbarians. Cavafy’s voice is heard in the film which features over hundreds of still images of Beirut, Lebanon. The animated photographs create a sense of tension between time and space, and stillness and motion, as the artists contrast the ancient setting of the poem with contemporary scenes to question belief, the construction of imaginaries, the writings of history and moreover, the representation of the other. The innovative technique used in Waiting for the Barbarians, of experimental dimensions, the unfolding of forgotten narratives, and the animated photographs and subtle video overlays, create a tension between stillness and motion, as if time, space and movement are constantly entangled. Temporalities become overimposed in such chaotic times, nature is reversed and many suns appear on multiplied horizons.

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