Droit de Suite – Tribute to Sophie Calle

Invited for the residency and exhibition “From Bits to Paper” (Feb- March 2016), Ivar and Esther developed a month-long performance, behaving  like digital location-trackers. They moved through Strasbourg, targeted people who were walking in the streets and followed them on foot, anonymously. The pursuits stopped when their signal got lost.


The project was announced by press briefings and via the project website so the audience was aware ánd invited to react:  “If you feel you’re being followed by them, let them know if you want to stop sharing your location with them.”

The notes and GPS tracks collected during the Strasbourg performance resulted in a small cinema of shadows and very short stories in which the apparent neutral behavior of the tracker gets human traits. Narrative told by Mahwish Anwar Butt, refugee from Pakistan and living in Strasbourg since 2011.

[vimeo width=”720″ height=”450″]https://vimeo.com/159477518[/vimeo]


Video Impression:

Sound Impression on SoundCloud:
Narrative told by Mahwish Anwar Butt.

artistic motivation
In 1979 Sophie Calle followed people in Paris as a way to get re-acquainted with the city after an absence of 7 years. After having followed people for a while she got the notion that « observing the behavior and actions of these strangers provided information with which to construct their identities.”

Sophie Calle probably could not have known that this notion she had now is explored by digital (social) networks on large scale*. PolakVanBekkum took her ideas back to the streets again and now not tried to get acquainted with the city but tries to feel what tracking nowadays provokes.

Rue89 (in French)
“L’hommage à Sophie Calle est annoncé – l’artiste française avait déjà suivi des inconnus dans la rue dans les années 80-90, mais ici les artistes incarnent les trackers insérés dans les smartphones.
Ils se conduisent comme des stalkers – ces pervers qui exploitent les informations rendues publiques sur internet pour localiser, voire agresser des personnes – mais préservent l’anonymat de leurs « victimes ».”

Shadok article by Filipe Pais

Exhibition Publication

We thank the following institutes and persons for their help and advise:
• Filipe Pais, curator
• The incredible team of Le Shadok Fabrique Numerique
• Papier Gâchette, Imprimerie artisanale, édition en Typographie, Sérigraphie, Gravure et lithographie and Pascale Willem and Thérèse Patriot in particular
• Casas, Collectif pour l’accueil des solliciteurs d’asile de Strasbourg
• Mahwish Anwar Butt, voice
• Nele Ysebaert, research
• Marja Feltkamp, text editing
• Lucie Guillemin, etching help and advise
• Rento Brattinga, etching and print ideas and advise
• Our fellow residents: Julien Fargetton, Thierry Verbeeck, Martin de Bie, Iwan Twohig, Alexandre Saunier
• The city of Strasbourg and its inhabitants for being the stage of our project