They can’t be seen, but they have to see everything. They never stay fixed in one place. Without being noticed, they continually change their position and their vantage point. Despite the constant background noise, they pick up every sound. They are all eyes and ears. They know everyone—their habits, their movements. But no one sees them. They receive little payment but bear a huge responsibility. The choufs (chouf, meaning “see” or “look” in Arabic) stay at their posts, always on the alert. These discreet figures warn drug dealers immediately while remaining untraceable themselves.
In our present-day lives, it seems impossible to avoid being seen, observed, or analyzed. Cameras and cookies are watching every move, following each action, emotion, and thought. So how is freedom possible despite this? How can we feel free and think freely? How is it to oscillate between secrecy and having your sense of self located in the digital? Could the chouf be a model, a keystone of countersurveillance?
Christelle Oyiri (b. 1992), the winner of the 2024 PONTOPREIS MMK, has created a new immersive work for her solo exhibition at ZOLLAMTMMK. The PONTOPREIS MMK is awarded every two years by the Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung in cooperation with the MUSEUMMMKFÜR MODERNE KUNST.
In collaboration with:
Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung zur Förderung junger Künstler