Sahara Sahara

Geoffrey Pugen

2010, 05:45 minutes, colour


Sahara Sahara is a fragmented anti-narrative depicting an activist revolution. An androgynous group becomes symbols for rethinking our relationship to technology and the natural environment.

Sahara Sahara offers a rare glimpse at the violent methods used to discuss the abuse of power and the damage it causes the economy, families and communities. It also challenges assumptions about "machismo" and its continued application to suburban culture. In the end, it demonstrates that violence and activism is a worldwide media frenzy that needs to be deconstructed and evaluated.

How do specific acts of protest reframe media depictions of catastrophic events? For the Sahara vigilante, violence is used to create change and an end to our reliance on unsustainable industries. The project questions how bodies in (violent) action create ambiguous meaning, drama and spectacle in the media. Raising questions: Should revolution be made a spectacle? Should it just be a part of how we live and breathe yet is marketed as a consumed attitude? Is violence used to seduce/and repulse the spectator into adopting these revolutionary ideals? Are women used to enhance the seduction, or simply stress the need for genderless hierarchy?

The project is presented in a gallery as a 2 channel choreographed video loop of ‘Sahara Sahara’ (5:05) performances or a Single channel video for festivals, cinema, and galleries.

"A delicate and poignant use of sound pervades this stylistic experimental narrative where activists revolt in defense of all natural things." Juana Awad

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Critical Writing

Geoffrey Pugen's vigilante women
by R.M. Vaughan. The Globe and Mail, Mar. 25, 2011.
Geoffrey Pugen's Sahara Sahara, Auto-Destructive Art
by Fraser McCallum. Toronto: Vtape.