san-francisco

Sophie Calle, “Cash Machine” (detail), 1991–2003, two gelatin silver prints, each 11 3/4 × 15 3/4".

Sophie Calle

Fraenkel Gallery

Sophie Calle, “Cash Machine” (detail), 1991–2003, two gelatin silver prints, each 11 3/4 × 15 3/4".

In 1988, the French artist Sophie Calle, whose work has long plumbed the vicissitudes of power, purportedly received a promising overture. “An American bank invited me to do a project,” she states. “Their ATMs were equipped with video cameras that filmed clients as they went unsuspectingly about their business.” The surveillance tapes show miens of worry, boredom, and calm as the subjects perform the mundane task of withdrawing or depositing bills. For the past sixteen years, Calle has grappled with this footage in various contexts, trying to give shape to the prodigious quantity of the material (arrested into discrete stills, there are over sixty-two million images) and, in doing so, to overcome its potential banality. Despite their obdurate silence, the images, complete with a time-and-date stamp in a clunky font, continued to transfix the artist, and they formed the conceptual

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2016 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.