Los Perros by Victor Barges
Hello, thanks for taking the time to let us interview and get to know you and your work better. Let’s start with some introductions, what’s your name, where are you from, where do you reside, and what do you do as a profession?
“Hi, my name is Victor Barges, I’m 22 year-old and I’m born in Paris (France). After few years in Montreal (Canada), I’m back in Paris to do my master in directing/screenwriting.
I’ve started to direct commercials and short movies in addition of being a web-artist/photographer.
I’m mainly interested in drama. My goal is to tell destroyed souls stories, lost in a ruthless world, for that the example Alejandro Inarritu’s work, especially in his first movies (Amores Perros, Babel or Biutiful). He is doing a hard but deeply human cinema. This last point leads me to my favorite writers : John and Dan Fante and Charles Bukowski. I have always been a huge fan of this type of American literature.
Logically, my favorite genre is the western. I’m currently writing a scenario which is contemporary western. It tells the story of a 20 years old Algerian who immigrates in Canada. The hero is going to work in oil fields in the middle of Alberta frozen plains. We follow this young guy in moments of joy, woes and his evolution in this new, cold, wild and brutal environment.”
“I reuse classical codes and modernize them. The European migrant is replaced by a North African one, horses and diligences become pick-ups and trucks, saloons are replaced by bars and strip clubs, violins and pianos by trap music.
This project is closely inspired by my teenage past in Canada from the age of 15 to 21 y-o. All my darkest thoughts are putted in it, in an exacerbated way.
Last but not least, beyond the question of the genre, there is the format. I’m a lot more interested by series than the feature films.
I believe in the end of movies as we know them. However, it doesn’t mean the end of cinema. We have the chance to live in a time of complete change. New digital platforms permit to present a lot of small and free projects. In my opinion, it is important for young directors and artists like me to take an interest to those new ways of doing films.”
Tell me a bit about your project. What is it about, when did you start it? Is it ungoing?
“The origin of this project is a solitarian roadtrip that I did 3 years ago in Arizona and Nevada. Six months ago, I rediscovered some texts that I wrote during this travel and I figured out that this trip actually changed my life.
I tried to give life to these feelings in my pictures. In this way, I surfed on GoogleMap – Streetview and I went back to all the cities and places that I visited three years ago.”
“In this way, I surfed on GoogleMap – Streetview and I went back in all the cities and places that I visited three years ago. My project Los Perros is a portraits serie of a list of individuals held in the imaginary city of Los Perros. This dystopical and terribly realistic metropolis is directly inspired by US Southwest cities such as Tucson or Phoenix in Arizona. The name of « Los Perros » (in English : « The Dogs ») is a sarcastic diversion of the common cities names of this region of America such as « Las Vegas » (in English : « The Virgins ») or « Los Angeles » (in English : « The Angels »). This chosen name directly returns to the presented portraits.
In my opinion, the fact that these photos are directly taken from the Googlemap – Streetview internet tool makes this work highly contemporary. This artistic choice shows that it is no longer necessary to physically travel to escape and discover new places, or even to photograph and make art.
This choice also refers to my personal feeling of deep solitude in this world of the Internet. No human warmth emerges from these photographs. The characters are nothing more than shadows without identity. Only an Instagram-style tag presents them.
Finally, I didn’t capture the American Dream itself but rather its hangover. This project is ongoing and I’m actually working on other photos series based on the same universe.”
“This photo is the representation of a lonely man walking along a suburban no man’s land. The vast emptiness of the space embodies a desert that expresses the inertia and fatality of the character. This look-a-like desert is a direct allegory of the soul of the protagonist.
This latter finds himself empty of all feelings or hope. In the background stands downtown Los Perros: its palaces, its luxury skyscrapers, and its tourist attractions. It is this fake world that has traumatized and emptied the protagonist of his soul. This latter refuses this world that led him to his doom. That’s why his walking with his head down.
In the foreground, the character is walking along a road. However, we can notice that he is walking in the wrong way as reveals the inclusion « ONLY ». This sign represents this feeling of obligation to follow a predetermined direction.
More intimately, this world of pleasures that makes most of the people dream, has the opposite effect that the one expected. It is the one of ruination, regrets, and loneliness. This trauma is the one that I feel; this sensation of going against the current, to be lost in a vast emptiness.”
“A man wearing a white shirt is opening a plastic bag. We don’t know what he is about to pull out of his bag. His face is blurred and his eyes concealed behind a black band. This missing identity gives an effect of doubt and concern.
These sensations contrast with his clothing and the place in which he stands; a simple downtown gas station. This contrast serves to illustrate the fact that every individual has its own demons. Each one of us is fighting against his anxieties, tensions, misfortunes, and tragedies.
Human world is build and populated with madmen. The normal individual doesn’t exist. Idea of normality is only a goal that each of us tends to respect and reach. That is why despite an allure and an attitude totally basic, the protagonist can show himself as a maniac.
Los Perros is an imaginary city in which the inside of every individual, their urges and anxieties, come to life. A metropolis populated by mad inhabitants and extreme characters. The danger is everywhere and this is what makes it a fascinating and living city.
More intimately, it is this feeling of danger (and as a consequence of life) that I have experienced during my road trip in Arizona, Nevada and California. By finding myself (often accidentally) in the shallows of Tucson, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles; I discovered this merciless society in which man is a wolf to man.”
“A man is walking alone in an average residential area of Los Perros. The image is divided in two distinct parts : on the left we can see a shabby vacant lot ; on the right a neat house with a green lawn. The protagonist is situated on the left of the photography, in front of the vacant lot.
He is on his way to the right side of the framework (the clean side). The title « bastard » comes directly from his position and direction. It is the representation of a state of mind. The one of wanting to escape from our originated world, towards a world that seems more pleasant.
However, in reality we can’t entirely reach this dreamed world. The character is detached from both worlds. He is enclosed in an illegitimate zone without life with the only goal of reaching the right side of the framework. The fact that the protagonist is only interested by the right side explains why his world of origin isn’t represented on the photography.
This world disappeared and it is impossible for the character to go back there.
The title « bastard » have an insultive dimension. The violence of this word serves to illustrate the feeling of violence to find himself in this situation.
In a more politic vision, this word « bastard » represents the feeling of the immigrant that left everything behind. This imprisonment in an illegitimate culture, rejected by both sides.
More intimately, this state of mind revealed in this photography is the reflexion of an important part of my life marked by this sensation of confinement and reject. This period is linked to my departure from Paris (France) in order to live alone in Montreal (Canada) at the age of 15.
I found myself blocked in this illegitimate zone between the nostalgia of my country, and this willingness to succeed in this new country without ever reaching this goal. In spite of my return in France, I never left this zone, and still feel like I am locked up in this latter (represented by the left side of the framework).”
So would you say this project directly mocks social media on how the things we see can be misinterpreted and that we see what we want to see? Though we are connected with information and the world, is the idea of this project to make everyone closer? Is there a moral purpose to this project, or trying to spread awareness, how do you feel about social media, should it go away, should it change somehow? Is it destroying humanity?
“Indeed, these social networks dimension is true. It’s obvious in this series. However, I think that the problem comes from further.
Who has created social networks? Human beings. The problem is not the social network but who created it.
That’s why I’m using social media features in this series. It’s the most contemporary way to criticize and present human-being in the world that he created. Social medias are just a reflection of the hidden and deep loneliness feeling in each of us.
However, there is no moral purpose in my work. Who am I to judge others and tell what is good for them? I personally hate artists who are trying to tell us what to do. This project judges nobody but tell stories of each of us in a simple world.
Those used-words can sometimes be hard, insulting or whatever but they are finally very understanding towards the characters in the pictures.
Each of us is trying alone, in his own way, to pass through this empty world. Humanity never existed, so it can’t be destroyed.”
Thank you Victor for giving us the opportunity to learn and talk to you about your project, this has been insightful!
By Pixsoul. Project by Victor Barges. Photos from ©Google Maps.
Visit his Website for more work and info.