This text was first published in the catalogue for the group exhibition Inter-View, Gallery The Space Seoul, Korea.

Raymond Taudin Chabot's videos are dramas without words, enigmatic fables of power made up from a veritable catalogue of visible signs: facial expressions, gestures, and general appearance. An ongoing work entitled Archive Project is a reference point, an extended scrapbook of the non-celebrity actors of the mediascape. These men (and it is overwhelmingly men), snipped from the pages of newspapers, mean business: politicians and company directors are snapped as they rush between important meetings and engagements; or else appear on stage for the army of awaiting journalists and their arsenal of microphones. Within the static, framed silence of the published snapshot, these images take on iconographic status, where every look, gesture and posture is subliminally taken in, becoming a magnetic force for our own projections of these men's inner thoughts. Cut loose from the accompanying blurbs which contextualize them and give them meaning within a larger discourse, they become fantasy spaces. What is the world of power like, one wonders. The portraits are generic enough to be collected according to categories, revealing - as well as the tool-kit of signification available to the protagonists themselves (expansive hand gestures, smiles and laughs for the cameras, penetrating stares) and the stage-managed theatricality of rallies and press conferences - also the props and stages that remain in place, giving this virtual world a kind of familiar solidity as new actors replace old ones: the briefcases, the underarm portfolios, the 'corridors of power', and the chauffer-driven car's back seat windows. Such bare things enable the creators of political dramas to piece together a convincing world; they comprise the reality-effect of the genre.

Chabot's videos seem concerned both with the images projected by powerful men and by their fictional representations. That Place is a film of an immaculately suited man being driven around an industrial estate. The camera focuses on the actor alternately from inside the car and from the outside looking in through the window. The silence and the flat terrain accentuates the disconnected, serenely enveloped feel, and as we settle into the pace of the film we start projecting narratives in tune with the protagonist's features, expressions and clothing. From his leather-seated carriage this man seems to float above the brute, mundane, noisy everyday world as he is ferried across the rolling backdrop of factories and warehouses; he appears preoccupied with the worries and intrigues befitting his authority. Lost in thought, or turning to stare through the window - there is no doubt he contemplates his own authority, his position; it's as if he could rise above his own body and get a look. The outer calm seems to dramatise an inner world, with the outer signs of his status signalling unseen machinations: Machiavellian plots, secret knowledge; even regrets and the accepted burden of loneliness at the top - having to make the final decision - is a form of self-love. Above the silence a non-diegetic drone gets louder, and the sense of a disembodied, virtual world becomes palpable as the clouds which reflect off the window turn opaque, assume a presence covering our view of the actor - his head in the clouds, so to speak. As if through a window to another dimension, he is obliterated by the dark, sinister sky as the car continues on surreally.

Dean Kenning