PRINT February 2009


Cyprien Gaillard, Desniansky Raion, 2007, stills from a color video, 30 minutes.

CYPRIEN GAILLARD’S VIDEO Desniansky Raion, 2007, opens with a view of a Belgrade housing block built in the 1980s. The building—two slightly asymmetrical towers conjoined by a walkway and crowned with a circular observation deck—stands alone in the center of the frame, a kind of gateway to the work. As an architectural hieroglyph, however, it speaks of a particular moment and social context, its tired futurism evoking the obsolete industrial buildings photographed by Bernd and Hilla Becher. The video’s sound track, composed by the French musician Koudlam, begins as a barely audible incantation; slowly we discern a lone male voice singing languidly, almost moaning, in a minor key.

After two minutes, the static shot of the towers cuts abruptly to shaky hand-held video footage. The camera looks down from a high vantage at another landscape of concrete high-rise blocks edging

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