Scenes of recent sociopolitical events, demonstrations and riots, in what it seems to be a besieged city, associated with Cavafy’s and Aeschylus’ verses, compose the audiovisual material of « the barbarians » .
The monochrome images, the long takes and the slow motion confer to this work its timeless character, heightening the reversible relationship between the documentary and the fiction, the real and the imaginary.
In the first half, the video deploys its narrative structure, in line with that of Cavafy’s poem, moving from the simple to the hidden, from stating the obvious to glimpsing the underlying fears and threats in todays society of control; it brings to light through military and political protocols and rites, power relations and mechanisms to rule the urban space. Cavafy points out as potential solution what the establishment assigns as the problem, to justifie its domination (the threat of the barbarians).
The second half, composed of one long sequence (street battle scene), builds up its audio track with recited fragments of Aeschylus’ « Persians », to enhance the dramaturgy and extend the reading frame of the images by adding a historical perspective and a diachronic character of the power struggle.
Like Aeschylus, who put himself in the « enemy’s » shoes, (although he fought as a soldier against the Persians) to convey an holistic experience of the war, « the barbarians » attempts to place the viewer up and above the current sociopolitical context in which the events it depicts occur.