Barbarians At the Gate: Irene

BARBARIANS AT THE GATE is a social practice event held on Election Day, November 3rd, 2020. We invite the public to voice their opinions, question the concept of democracy and citizenship, and vote for “who gets to vote in America.” We, the Barbarians will be holding this event at Fort Mason, in the site of the most iconic gate in San Francisco––the Golden Gate bridge.

The Romans used the term “barbarian” to denote anyone different or who lived outside of the Roman Empire. The expression “barbarians at the gate” is often used in contemporary English within a sarcastic or ironic context when speaking about a perceived threat from a rival group of people, often deemed to be less capable or somehow “primitive.”

The earliest notion of “citizen” emerges from Greece (8th Century BCE), where it applied to property owners. The term did not include women, slaves, or more impoverished members of society. In 1776, the Founding Fathers of our country gave voting rights to anglo men of wealth, denying women the right to vote until 1919. However, women of color could not vote until nearly five decades later.