b. 1980 Paris, France
Cyprien Gaillard's Desniansky Raion (2007), a video with a soundtrack by the French musician Koudlam, is an extended examination of the well-intentioned, but often unsuccessful, social-housing projects that appear frequently in Galliard's work. It opens with a view of a futuristic-looking housing block in Belgrade, which is quickly supplanted by footage from a battle between members of two gangs of an underground fight club in St. Petersburg. This scene of chaos is followed by one of much more organized destruction: an elaborate light show that accompanied the demolition of a housing project in Meaux, France: a somewhat contradictory community event that celebrated the demolishing of a community. Finally, we are shown a shaky aerial view of the desolate, snow-covered housing blocks of Desniansky Raion district in the suburbs of Kiev. Gaillard shot this footage illegally from a microlight airplane. Here, the perfect ring of housing blocks stand like a modern-day Stonehenge, intimating that these monolithic structures may be markers of a culture, or at least an idea, that is already in ruins.