THE DEAD GOVERN THE LIVING (LES MORTS GOUVERNENT LES VIVANTS)
France - 2018 - B&W - 10 video screenings in loop - various lentghs
Video installation by David Fathi
With the support of La Galerie Particulière // In collaboration with Agence PAM
Original soundtrack and sound installation by Frédéric D. Oberland
Analog synths & processed mellotron recorded and mixed at Magnum Diva, Paris
More than 150 years ago, Auguste Comte forged an utopian project named positivism, in which the past feeds the present, in order to create a future where order and progress rules. Comte said “The Deads govern the Living ones”. According to him, the best of dead people’s minds survives. Society improves trough the accumulation of knowledges. This sentence seems ambiguous but was idealistic in Comte’s mind.
150 years later, Humanity is in suspension. A post-capitalistic Society blaming itself on the impossibility of creating a better Future. We see Future like a cycle that repeats itself : rise of fascism, raising economical inequalities, atomic threat. Our popular Culture is full of dystopies (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, Black Mirror). For modern iconoclast thinkers like Hito Steyerl or Adam Curtis, our society became a living-dead culture, which repeats and feeds itself endlessly. We can’t understand the sentence “The Deads govern the Living ones” as a positive one. The Deads seem to govern us, like a past that weighs on the present and prevents us from considering a unleashed Future./
Is Auguste Comte’s vision outdated? Are we trapped in something inextricable for we abandonned a certain kind of idealism?
The in situ work created for the Maison d’Auguste Comte is a confrontation between Comte’s idealism and current cynism. Utopia in front of Dystopie. Videos of wrestling and fighting politicians are the starting point of this confrontation. The current political Dead-end is repeated in an endless Loop, like a shapeless tide of zombies wearing ties. These governing Living-deads contrast with the conserved Philosopher’s Apartment, full of positivists Relics of an ideal we have forsaken.
2018: Exhibition at PhotoSaintGermain Festival, Maison Auguste Comte, Paris (FR)