French soldiers walk past closed Christmas markets in Strasbourg on Thursday, December 13. Photo: dpa.

Strasbourg Biennale Postponed Following Christmas Market Shooting

The inaugural edition of the Strasbourg Biennale, which was expected to kick off on Saturday, December 15, has been postponed following the fatal shooting of three people at a Christmas market in the French city on Tuesday, December 11. The following day, officials declared the attack, which also left about a dozen others wounded, an act of terrorism.

The authorities tracked the suspect, who was later identified as twenty-nine-year-old Chérif Chekatt, to the residential Neudorf neighborhood, where he was shot dead by the authorities Thursday night. According to the New York Times, Chekatt, who was born in Strasbourg, had an extensive criminal record and was one of the twenty thousand people the French police have marked as at risk of radicalization.

Earlier that day, the government announced that the authorities were overburdened and asked the people gearing up for more yellow vest protests this weekend to call off the demonstrations. The movement, which is named after the protective vests drivers are required to have in case of traffic trouble, began as a protest against increased fuel taxes. It has since grown into a campaign against president Emanuel Macron, who has been labeled by some as a leader of the rich.

The Strasbourg Biennale, titled “Touch Me: Being a Citizen in the Digital Age,” will focus on “our relationship with new technologies and how the internet has profoundly affected our behavior and society.” Among the issues that will be explored are the tension between the public and private domains; how the media influences one’s political, economic, and cultural views; and how people form their digital identities. Curated by Yasmina Khouaidjia, the exhibition will feature forty-three works by eighteen artists and will be on view at the Hôtel des Postes, as well as at other venues across the city, from December 22 to March 3, 2019.