THE WALLS DON’T SPEAK/ LES MURS NE PARLENT PAS
The Walls Don't Speak / Les Murs Ne Parlent Pas
Hardcover / 344 pages / 165 x 230 mm
In close collaboration with the anthropologist Florence Weber, Jean-Robert Dantou initiated an alliance between photography and the social sciences. This resulted in a bilingual publication(English/French) that serves as a manifesto for applying an alternative take on the portrayal of those diagnosed as psychiatric patients.
The setup of the book is text-heavy and includes images of a documentary or clinical style. The publication breathes with an air of academia, while its very concept confronts a common, clichéd approach to madness. Or, to be more precise, it is a conscious compensation for the limited ability of photography to depict the complicated mental state addressed.
The overall method of the project is critically reflected on in two extensive interviews with the authors, moderated by Christian Caujolle – who also wrote the afterword. It might not completely overcome the challenging aspects brought to the table, but the weight with which it is presented makes it a genuine endeavour to purposefully tackle the more general problem of representation.