Wolfgang Scheppe: Taxonomy of The Barricade
Image Acts of Political Authority in Paris, May 1968
The pictorial order of a regime of surveillance applied during the last wide-ranging insurgence in Europe’s history surfaces from the analysis of this unique visual archive. Following the events happening at the Sorbonne in May 1968, alongside general strikes and nationwide factory occupations, France’s state of emergency becomes apparent through a specific iconography of visual control.
Among other characteristic typologies of authoritative monitoring aspects, the events in May ’68 marked the historic beginning of the deployment of helicopter based aerial photography as a means of governmental crowd control in a situation of escalating insurrection. The political will to gain an unobstructed view on any individual motion pattern represented in the project leads to epistemically-new technologies that combine observation with political governance, and the use of force as recently manifested in the agency of drones and face recognition.