by Vlad Petri
The protests that took place in Bucharest in January 2012 led to discussions on the role of street protests and problematized the relation between the authorities, the protesters and those documenting the events. The article Visual Representations of the 2012 Protests. Whose Side Are You On? tackles several issues: the partitioning of the physical space of protest, the existence of a “supervised protest”, authorized by law enforcement institutions, the representations of protesters in the media, the construction of a fictitious context of the protest different from the one on the scene, the meaning of the perspective one has on the events and the role selection plays in structuring the filmed material. “It was the first time I was taking part in an important protest in Romania and my position as a protester started overlapping with that of documentary filmmaker. I was interested in tracing the unfolding of events, as well as taking part in what seemed to me as inevitable socio-political transformations. Between January and March I took part in the protests almost on a daily basis and after this period I started going to University Square whenever different groups of protesters gathered to make their dissent public.”
Vlad Petri problematizes the relation between subjective and objective filming and between impartiality and involvement in defining the relationship with the camera. He also tackles the manner in which the authorities allow themselves to be represented, thus choosing the way they wish to legitimize themselves. “The overall manner in which you depict an event, the way you position yourself in relation to the issue and the images and sounds you cut from reality and select in the editing process, are all aspects which determine the way in which a certain event is perceived and impacts an audience”.
Vlad Petri is currently working on a documentary feature film about the protests.