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"Sophie Calle" Tag

Over de kunstenaar die een detective wilde zijn

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Hotel, Room 47 1981 by Sophie Calle born 1953

In L’Hotel (1981) neemt de Franse kunstenares Sophie Calle tijdelijk een baan aan als kamermeisje in een Venetiaans hotel. Ze krijgt 12 kamers toegewezen, die ze gedurende enkele weken zorgvuldig moet schoonmaken. Tijdens haar werkzaamheden documenteert ze de voorwerpen die de gasten in hun verblijf achterlaten. Ze fotografeert de bedden, die soms niet eens beslapen zijn. Ze opent de koffers, bevoelt de zijden stropdassen. Ze leest brieven, die niet aan haar gericht zijn, en maakt aantekeningen van wat ze in de badkamers aantreft. Ze documenteert alles wat de gasten in hun kamers achterlaten. Als een ware detective onderzoekt ze hun levens.
De foto’s en teksten die Calle maakte tijdens haar werkzaamheden als kamermeisje, publiceert ze later in de serie L’Hotel. Met dit werk maakt ze het publiek deelgenoot van haar voyeurisme: ze biedt de toeschouwer een intiem kijkje in het leven van de hotelgasten.

The Hotel, Room 47 1981 by Sophie Calle born 1953

both images : Sophie Calle, The Hotel, Room 47 1981, © DACS, 2004

De kunstenaars die in deze scriptie behandeld worden gedragen zich net als Calle als een detective. In hun werk nemen zij het leven onder de loep: ze verzamelen informatie, onderzoeken deze zorgvuldig en komen vervolgens tot verrassende ontdekkingen. Aan de hand van het werk van onder andere Douglas Huebler, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Arjan de Nooy en Hans Aarsman, wordt in deze scriptie ingegaan op de overeenkomsten en verschillen tussen de werkwijze van de kunstenaar en die van de detective.

text by Rosan Dekker [graduate student deartement of Graphic Design]:


From the jury rapport : The jury found the carefully designed thesis of Rosan Dekker, which looks like a poetry booklet from the early twentieth century, very charming. Scriptie - boeken - Rosan Dekker - Detective_small But the jury was also impressed by the content of the thesis. In her thesis Rosan investigates what we can learn from the artist in the role of detective. Rosan shows in a well-written narrative that the artist should be a detective that asks the wrong questions and takes up the false leads to get the best results. The jury has found that Rosan's is the only thesis that shows good art criticism in that she is not afraid to take in a position and defend it. [thesis nominated for 2013 Rietveld theses prize]


Pdf-icon Download this thesis: Over de kunstenaar die een detective wilde zijn [dutch language]

Take Care of Yourself

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Take Care of Yourself (2008), French conceptual artist Sophie Calle takes us, the spectators and readers back in time, browsing through archives with twenty year old photos and letters, she goes looking for relatives, friends and ex-lovers with whom she lost contact.

She openly shares her sensitivity for filling in loneliness by tracking down those she used to cherish. Intrigued by her findings, she shifts the idea of the existence of complete solitude and anonymity by investigating what nowadays keeps people busy, too busy to stay in touch with loved ones from the past.

Calle records not only her own hidden vulnerabilities but also those of others. Eagerly she tries to comprehend and researches how people function in their relationships, arbitrary household tasks, work, social life and endless attempts to realize fantasies. She cleverly visualizes this by contacting twenty people from her past that are willing to give her one week to document their private, present lives. Taking photos, films, recording voicemail messages, browsing through personal items, collecting letters, creates a different image of every single individual that Sophie follows. All the information that she collects is divided per person and sometimes unexpectedly forms new identities while she compares the knowledge that she has, knowing them from the past with the knowledge that she gathers from the present.

The contrast that occurs between the history of the individuals and their current whereabouts gives room for the viewers to construct and interpret an invisible timeline.

Questions arises why Sophie Calle and some of her back-in-the-days loved ones have grown apart. For some there appears to be an obvious explanation, for some there doesn’t seem to be a clear one. Calle genuinely reflects her own life upon those she documented and searches for answers and interpretations about how people become individual, independent and eventually form an identity. What influences one to alter its path? Why do people grow apart and accept the fact that we do? How do we look back on memories? How do we take care of ourselves and how have others?

Not only does “Take Care of Yourself” contain a lot of intimacy and interaction, it also makes us wonder what the saying: “Take Care of Yourself” actually means. While we speak out those four words, knowing that you won’t see each other any time soon, the meaning changes and makes you realize that taking care of yourself, can make you feel a little bit lonely, sometimes. Calle seeks and finds comfort in the final results she obtains, knowing that her former loved ones have been taking care of themselves.



In this book conceptual artist Sophie Calle works with the same delicacy and media as how she did in “Did You See Me?” (2007). Where she merely approached strangers back then, she this time approaches people that have become estranged from her. Her fine touch and assertive working method have an inspiring and consoling effect on every reader.


this post is part of he subjective library project "Unopened Book"
the book can be found at the Rietveld library : catalog no : -call-2

“Prenez soin de vous”

Monday, March 15, 2010

For the first time in fifteen years an overview exhibition on the work of the French artist Sophie Calle is organize in The Netherlands. Central work in this exhibit is “Prenez soin de vous” (Take care of yourself), in which Calle invites 107 women from a ballerina to a lawyer to use their professional skills to interpret an email in which her partner breaks up with her.

Sophie Calle is part of the April 1st BasicYear Design Trip
look for more on Sophie Calle
newspaper article NRC  9/5/2008 (dutch) pdf

slowLinking: tagging slow design part 3

Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to part 3 of : tagging slow design. This is a worksheet on which all the link-topics and post-it tags collected on the “slowWall” are listed in relation to the research subjects as components of the ‘slow design project’. (researches can be downloaded as .pdf’s).

link topics.

Performance links the Morgan O’Hara research to the one on Julia Mandle. The Julia Mandle research links to the one on Richard Long on the topic street /nature & art, by slow movement to the Kunsthalle Bern exhibit and by sensibility & violence to the Psychogeography research. Psychogeography has the link topic urban life with the Karmen Franinovic research, consumption /destruction /life style with Futurisme, against and pro community with Wim Wenders, evolution of everyday life to Downshifting, and a anonimous link to Maria Blaisse. This anonimous link is not the only one linking Marie Blaisse. Link topics like art and left over, connect this research to Uta Barth. Karmen Franinovic links to Christian Nold by means of the topic mapping, and to Psychogeography by urban life, to Futurisme by life is getting faster & people are getting a social, to Julia Mandle by just stop & think and to Richard Long by the link a way to see. Richard Long links to many other researches: to Sophie Calle by self related art, to Christian Nold through a line made by walking, to Karmen Franinovic linked by the topic a way to see, to Downshifting by choosing slowness. Downshifting links back to Julia Mendle by the link topic us and them, to Psychogeography by revolution of everyday life, to Futurisme tagging the link with designed lifestyle, to Marie Blaisse by us and them, and to the Kunsthalle Bern exhibit by reflect /a closer look. The research on Futurism has some remaining links to Julia Mandle through the topic exploring / explosive / sculptural. Following links from Wim Wenders to Uta Barth is made possible by the topic notice the small things in life, to Christian Nold by moving /memories. Mapping links Christian Nold to the Ambient/Brain Eno research while that last one makes a link back to the Kunsthalle “The Half and the Whole” exhibit creating a take time to cook link.

Reading all the researches the links will surely start to make sense, as will their variety shed light on the specific nature of many of them. Some research subject however did not create any link at all, like in the case of Maison Martin Margiela. And it was 0nly after some discusion that the performance link was created between Sophie Calle and Karmen Franinovic. Uta Barth was anonimously linked to Richard Long which might have been an intuitively act

Post-it tags.

No links did not mean no tags. Time, Maison Martin Margiela for example was closely read and tagged with post-it. This created tags like memories, replica, time(less), can’t relate to it, time, physical picture of memory and the photographical tag to a picture by Mark Manders. Wim Wenders (present in our research list because of his beautifull documentary “Notebook on Cities & Clothes” about fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto) generated also many tags like sublime, I finally found time, hillbilly, surreal, the truth, place, moving. Sophie Calle tagged by the moderator with authorship, generated: life=art, stories, documenting life. Uta Barth looking was tagged: rainy day with half closed eyes, in between places, no left over, sunday. Ambient the research connected to Brian Eno tagged as big here long now was retagged as live the moment, loosing yourself, don’t think, sound. Christian Nold place-ness got tagged with keywords like biomapping, google earth, links, remapping memories. Linked to many, tagged by few. Julian Mandle pause, was tagged with pause from urban flow only. Morgan O’Hara gestures was tagged with trans, transforming, concert-art, transmission, energy of moments, reaction. Maria Blaisse architecture by border between self and not self. Futurism with fast life, life style, save time? Downshifting was tagged with life style too and change assumption. Richard Long tagged as a subject with landscape was enriched with the two tags: exploring fast and slow and perception of space, time and personal potency. Psychogeography with destruction of community, philosophy, socialism, anarchisme and urban live. Finally Karmen Franinovic subtraction, served as a hub for the tags: observe, spontaneous landscape, discover a realy nice place that never be online, easy fast, MTV generation, reflect, and observe. Some researches like Conditional Design re-mapping did not make “the slowWall” and were concequently not linked

added tags from the slow design lecture.

scale, gestures, measurements, relations, sustainability, evolving, creative activism, reveal, expanding awareness, reflect, engage, participal, deceleration, fresh connections, rhythm, probing, (im)materiality, metabolism, reflective consumption, live span, memories, community, record, tracing, (human) body, break (take a break), nothingness, inclusive, transparent, re-mapping, connection to scale

read also: >tagging slowdesign part 1

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