The Sound of Solidarity

Les Manifs – The Sound of Solidarity Is an audiovisual piece reflecting upon my experiences of the French ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protests in December 2018.

I’m very happy to announce that it has been released under CAMP.FR Editions, and will be exhibited at The International Conference on Computational Creativity 2020

You can listen to a binaural mix and read more about the project below:

Whilst living in the Occitanie region, the artists witnessed the rise of the protest movement sweeping the country. The grassroots group was sparked by rising fuel prices and the cost of living. The movement grew to encompass broader sentiments of domestic discontent and socioeconomic injustice. With wide support from many different demographics, weekly disruptive demonstrations expanded to almost every town in the country.

President Macron was quick to condemn the protests. He was categorical in his refusal to concede any of the movement’s demands. However the resolute tenacity of the Gilets Jaunes was underestimated. After 8 consecutive weeks of protests, Macron was forced to make concessions. Regardless, the protests continued unabated for 45 consecutive weeks in Paris, attracting over 300,000 demonstrators nationally at its height. 

As support for the movement grew, so too did the tension. Police clashed violently with rioters, known as the Ultra-Jaunes. Cities were heavily vandalised: rioters targeted banks, speed cameras, and parking meters. The Police response was equally controversial. Their aggressive tactics inflicted many (sometimes life changing) injuries to rioters and peaceful protestors alike.

The piece comprises binaural sound recordings and photographs of the 10th week of demonstrations in the city of Toulouse, where 10,000 protestors took to the streets. In gonzo-journalistic style, the photographer and recordist individually explored the protests through their mediums.

Both were drawn in with nightfall by the chaos and drama of the ultra-jaunes, where lawlessness reigns and revolution is romanticised.

The work portrays the story of a day of direct action with the Gilets Jaunes, following different groups and factions to a dangerous climax. Ultimately, the artists discover a place where for a fleeting moment, amidst barrages of tear gas, flash grenades and water cannons, some of the most disenfranchised members of society find their voices.

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