Sophie Calle: UnfinishedPast
In collaboration with Fabio Balducci
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York
CODEC GALLERY: FEB 13 – APR 18
The databank as a cybernetic Panopticon
Since the late 1970s, French photographer and conceptual artist Sophie Calle has immersed herself in experiments of voyeurism and identity. Through personal investigation, Calle redefines the terms and parameters of subject and object, public versus private, and role-playing as framework for her documentation and subsequent reconstruction of strangers’ lives. Calle manipulates situations and individuals, and often adopts guises in order to pursue and interrogate her subjects, the evidence of which results in conceptual projects, photo-text installations, and books.
Her work Unfinished is part of a larger series titled Cash Machine, which the artist began in 1991. After obtaining numerous images from an ATM security camera stored at a police station in Minneapolis, MN, Calle found herself pursuing what would become a perplexing fifteen-year investigation. Using three surveillance tapes, Calle creates voyeuristic assumptions about the strangers, bank employees, as well as a pawn-shop merchant in an attempt to clarify the meaning of money, security, and anonymity. Revealing simple encounters between man and machine, this piece evokes the ubiquity of surveillance devices that we face on a daily basis, even without the presence of closed-circuit cameras. Calle’s selection of images is presented as the central narrative in this ultimately unresolved examination of behavior, emotion, and the creative process.