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The Light Seems Far away by Christian Barani

The Light Seems Far away by Christian Barani


The Light Seems Far Away is a poetic and realistic chronicle of Tskaltubo – the city in the West of Georgia, chosen by Staline to be one of the main spa resorts of the Soviet Union.

This multi-screen installation, produced especially to be exhibited at the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum, results from materials filmed in 2016 and 2017. Through these fragments, the French video artist Christian Barani captures the contrast between the glorious past of this city and its current state of collapse – a consequence of the fall of the USSR. The once renowned spa resort with its monumental sanatoriums has become a shelter for tens of thousands of Georgian internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled Abkhazia – former Georgian cote d’Azur following the war in 1992-1993.

This contrast between the past and the present of the city opens a breach for Christian Barani to explore, in this multi-layered work, the constitutive elements of the city’s post-modern realities, archetypical of Post Soviet countries. The Light Seems Far Away questions the coexistence between an urban landscape, characterized by the anarchical presence of the vegetation and the ability of internally displaced people to survive and to create a community in the abandoned sanatoriums of Tskaltubo.

Theme irrigating all of his works, Christian Barani questions the forms of violence perpetrated to humans and human capacities of resilience - the central theme of The Light Seems Far Away. This work is also of historical importance. Face to the restorations of the sanatoriums announced in Tskaltubo, it constitutes a visual testimony of the city, with its visible post-soviet and postmodernist footprints.

Realist poetry is an artistic practice that has been developed by the French video artist Christian Barani. His method brings together the documentary and the visual arts. Barani’s working process establishes a performative set-up that generates images without having any prior scenario for filming. Translating as accurately as possible the lived experience, this practice is equally physical and human; physical in the crossing of the territory, human in the encounters that the journey provokes. The idea is of an experiment engaging a body/camera walking through a site. Chance and improvisation define the “rules of the game”.

The Light Seems Far Away to set the context, Barani juxtaposed extracts from Svetlana Alexievich’s book Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets and from Emmanuel Adely’s text to the film sequences. These texts are reflecting people’s thoughts. There is the perspective of communists, coming to the baths and believing in the soviet system and the testimony of those undergoing the regime and the consequences of its fall, including the war in Abkhazia. Following the process of production, the editing is precise and deprived of any randomness. The final form of the film is shaped depending on the specific project and future exhibition sites: film projected in a theater or in an exhibition space, installation or performance.

The Light Seems Far Away is thought of as a set of blocks of movements and blocks of times (referring to the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze). There is no preconceived connection between the fragments featured on each screen of the installation. The way the film is edited and displayed on multiple screens allows each spectator to become a creator of its own version of the logic of the movie

To set the context, Barani juxtaposed extracts from 2015 Nobel Prize Svetlana Alexievich’s book Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets and from the French writer Emmanuel Adely’s text to the film sequences. These texts are reflecting people’s thoughts. There is the perspective of communists, coming to the baths and believing in the soviet system and the testimony of those undergoing the regime and the consequences of its fall, including the war in Abkhazia.


Project partner is Georgian National Archives. 


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Monday-Friday: 12:00 - 19:00
Thursday: 12:00 - 21:00



Cover Image © Christian Barani












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Jun 10. 2021 - Jul 09. 2021
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