Paris field work: some field notes and images

by thomasdekeyser

IMG_1199 edit smallIMG_1219 edit smallIMG_1438 small editIMG_1361 small editIMG_1405 small editIMG_1636 small editIMG_1629 small editI am sitting in a white van rushing through the Parisian night. Alongside me sit 100 posters and four girls. My stomach is battling the early-morning caffeine overdose, awkwardly interrupting the nervous silence so present in the vehicle. In the wake of the terror attacks taking place exactly two weeks ago, Paris has become a heavily militarised city. Perhaps not the best time for illicit interventions.

Nearing the centre of the capital, we roll past the patrolling members of police and army forces into a side-street of one of Paris’ most luxurious shopping streets. Screen-printed JC Decaux vests, legal numbers, four-way utility keys and six-sheet posters in cardboard tubes are circulated swiftly inside the parked van. I follow one of the two installation couples at distance as they approach their first target: a back-lit Louis Vuitton model shielded behind JC Decaux glass. Although they are breathing loudly, their appeared confidence is impressive. No-one looks up as they rip out the native poster, click the alter-poster into the metal frame, roll it down and close the media space. They step back, the corrupted advert glows in the night. They smile at each other and head towards their next victim. The City of Light brightens up. I stay back to photograph the distorted media space when I hear a subtle chuckle coming from behind my shoulder. My act of documentation is a greater peculiarity than the act of intervention taking place only a minute ago. I am now no longer the only person photographing the finished product.