La Défense, a Live Photo Video Essay
There’s something anthropological about the way artist Paulien Oltheten zooms in on seemingly insignificant details of everyday life—a pedestrian’s gait, the way a suitcase is held, the posture of office workers standing on an escalator. She identifies patterns and routines, and captures them in photos, sketches and videos. In 2011, this yielded A Sort of Lecture, a box full of documentation from which the reader compiles his or her collage of life in public space. Now Oltheten has turned her material into a live performance in which she discusses the findings she made in the Parisian business district La Défense. We discover why she's interested in particular events or passersby and how she works like a detective as she attempts to connect disparate information. We learn to see the way she sees. Now, observing her with new eyes, we place her every gesture under the microscope—watching the watcher.
Naro Snackey, Anneke Tonen