Title:
Guards
Artist(s):
Francis Alys
Brief description of the work:
The short film 'Guards' (2003) follows sixty-four individual Coldstream Guards as they move through the Square Mile of London.
Materials, dimensions, duration:
Video
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
Guards was part of the Francis Alys: Seven Walks exhibition at Artangel, London Sept - Nov 2005
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
Audience can view the documentation of a past action
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Commissioned and produced by Artangel, 2005
Photos by Thierry Bal, courtesy of Artangel
Floorplan, scheme:

 
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Observing a system in action
Further context:

"A journey implies a destination, so many miles to be consumed, while a walk is its own measure, complete at every point along the way." Francis Alys

"The film begins with the image of a lone guardsman, in traditional red coat and bearskin hat, a gun held loosely in his hand, wandering through London's deserted financial district. There's something odd about this image. Guardsmen aren't usually seen alone and they either march or stand still. This one swaggers. And what is he doing here in the City anyway? Then we see other guardsmen, also walking aimlessly along Bishopsgate, past Guildhall and through Barbican. When two guardsmen meet they pause, present their arms and march away in step. Gradually small groups form and merge into larger groups until finally an 8 x 8 square of guards has formed. The group marches to the nearest bridge across the Thames. Once they're on the bridge the group dissolves."
(Joerg Heiser, online)