Alain Paiement, Masses / Particules — Alain Paiement, Crowds

[Winter 2020]

Demonstrations. From Occupy Wall Street to Extinction Rebellion actions, popular resistance demonstrations have become an integral part of international news over the last decade. We are almost accustomed to seeing, over and over, spectacular images of uprisings against dictators, altercations among citizens, identity-related confrontations, movements of crowds in war and in desperate migrations. The dynamic of these crowds varies considerably, from pacifist marches to violent riots. Such waves of movements have punctuated the daily news diet on every continent – during a period of undeniable acceleration in the pace of global current events.

Samplings. From day to day, dozens of photographs of crowds accumulate. After a few years, there are thousands of them. Gradually, the images are decontextualized, shedding legends and metadata and then being grouped as a function of scale, density of crowds, farthest to closest, then people’s positions, varying among frontal, profile, and back views. With the information removed, these images become equivalent and replaceable.

Starting from the difference between a group of unique individuals and a crowd within which they are anonymous, these images are at the pinnacle of sampling. The suppression of singularity in the typology of accumulated units corresponds to the negation of the uniqueness of individuals in a population…

[See the printed or digital version of the magazine for the complete article. On sale throughout Canada until June 12, 2020, and online through our boutique.]

Purchase this issue