Revolt of the Giants - reconstructed from reproductions

Part 1 of Monument to Another Man’s Fatherland

35mm film, 47 min. b/w silent + index poster, 2008-2009


Triggered by the invitation to make a new work for Project Art Centre in Dublin, we followed a trail of migrating Celts to Berlin. Here, a Hellenist victory monument commemorates a battle of this ancient people. A 35mm black and white film slowly follows the surface of the monument's frieze bringing the viewer into an intimate encounter with the global treasure. The frieze depicts the gigantomachy, or struggle between gods and giants, but it is also the receptacle of another tale – that of imperialism, cultural looting and the re-appropriation of national treasures, cultural heritage and the spoils of war. Initially we planned to film the sculptural battle scene in the Pergamonmuseum, however the museum did not want to collaborate with an art project addressing the fact that the monument originates from somewhere else. This might 'stir the debate about repatriation', something the museum was 'not interested in'. Numerous images of Pergamon's Gigantomachia frieze circulate in academic books and guides that have been published throughout the years. Appropriating these existing reproductions, which were printed in different epochs and different periods, with their diverse grids, qualities and illumination, we reconstructed the entire sculptural battlefield, and this is what we see on film. An index lists the sources of the images, and describes their formal qualities, such as contrast, printing technique and texture.

Commissioned and co-produced by Project Arts Centre, Dublin. Supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Fund for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.

review Artforum by Maeve Connolly

review Frieze by Aoife Rosenmeyer