她是法國藝術家Sophie Calle，跟縱B先生計劃後來成為了她的作品 《Suite Venitienne》。《Suite Venitienne》是創作於八十年代初，她離開法國七年後，回到巴黎一切變得非常異生。Calle在自己的出生地成為異鄉人，於是她用異鄉人的視點去監視這個陌生的出生地。在威尼斯監視B先生的同時，Calle也在觀察自己。在水鄉交錯的街道上， B先生背影時而消失、時而走近，情緒也隨之失去方向。這一場的跟縱就是她個人慾望的投射，她像在戀愛，但卻不是。又或許B先生的飄忽無定比對他暸如指掌更吸引，那是一種在陌生與熟悉之間的迷失，在異鄉中找尋著甚麼的寂寞。
偷窺、發掘私密及跟蹤，都是Calle的藝術。在《Suite Venitienne》後，Calle 在威尼斯一家酒店當房務員，在每天執拾房間的過程中，Calle 翻閱客人的物件。衣服擺放位置、棄掉的垃圾等各種細節，都是她蹓躂陌生人世界時的樂趣。這個就是她後來的作品《Hotel》。Calle的藝術世界也彷彿當下的現實。我們在網絡上跟追踪別人的日常，掌握陌生人的愛惡。在滑鼠及鍵盤的滴溚間，人與人前所未有地緊密連聯繫著，卻又如此疏離。我們偷窺別人，也從不吝嗇私隱。去過那裡、吃過甚麼、跟誰在一起，統統在那數碼虛擬中展視一番。
Sophie Calle最新的作品就是分享陌生人的秘密。在紐布魯克林區的Green-Wood Cemetery 內，有一座全新的「墓碑」，是 Calle 在未來廿五年的新作。「墓碑」上刻有「Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery」，遊人寫下不願告訴別人的秘密，然後投進這座「墓碑」內。開幕當天，Calle 親自為預先登記的遊人聆聽他們的秘密，人龍圍繞墳場一圈，是慕 Calle的名氣而來，還是人皆有不可告人的秘密。
One day in 1980, on the streets of Paris, she was following a stranger but she lost him a few minutes later. That evening, at the opening party of an exhibition, a friend introduced her to a man called Henri B, who was none other than the man whom she had tailed. Mr B told her he was going to Venice in Italy. Thus, she followed him, from Paris to Venice. She continued to spy on Mr. B’s whereabouts through the maze-like streets in Venice.
She is Sophie Calle, a French artist. Her plot to tail Mr. B later on became her work titled Suite Venitienne, which was created in the early 1980s. When she returned to France after being away for seven years, every single thing in Paris became unfamiliar to her. Calle became an outsider in her birthplace. Thus, she decided to spy on her birthplace, now alien to her, from the point of view of an outsider. While spying on Mr. B in Venice, Calle also observed her own self. On the streets crisscrossed with canals, as Mr. B disappeared at times and then reappeared again close to her, she got lost with her emotions. This tailing plot was a manifestation of her own desire. It would seem she was in love, but in fact she was not. Perhaps Mr. B, being elusive, appealed to her more than a Mr. B whom she could read like a book. It was a form of losing one’s bearings between alienation and familiarity, as well as of the solitude of looking for something on the foreign land.
Peeping, tailing and uncovering personal secrets all constitute Calle’s art. Following her creation of Suite Venitienne, while working as a room attendant at a hotel in Venice, she would look over guests’ belongings while tidying up the rooms every day. While wandering in the world of strangers, she derived enjoyment from every small detail, from where the clothes were put to the discarded garbage. This later became her work titled Hotel. The artistic world of Calle also bears some resemblance to the reality in today’s world. We are closely following the daily life of others on the Internet, trying to grasp the preferences of strangers. Between mouse clickings and keyboard tappings, human beings have been more closely connected with one another than ever before and yet they are at the same time so estranged. We spy on others, but are always generous about spilling private information: to where we have been what we have eaten, with whom we have spent time, all on display in the digital world.
The latest work of Sophie Calle is about sharing secrets of strangers. Standing inside Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York is a brand new “tomb”, her new work for the next twenty five years. Engraved on the tombstone are the words “Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery”, inviting visitors to write down the secrets they would not tell others and throw them inside this “tombstone”. At the opening ceremony, Calle offered to listen to the secrets of pre-registered visitors, who formed a long queue stretching all around the cemetery. Were they there because of Calle’s fame, or because they all had some unspeakable secrets?
As the saying goes, nothing is permanent in life, and thus we should make good use of our limited time to make honest confessions. But who would walk into their grave without bringing some unspoken words with them?
Image courtesy of Another Magazine website; LA Times