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Sophie Calle L’Erouv de Jérusalem, 1996

Sophie Calle, The Eruv of Jerusalem

Du 5 décembre 1998 à mai 1999

Sophie Calle asked inhabitants of Jerusalem, Israelis and Palestinians, to take her to a public place that they consider to be private.

‘According to Jewish law, it is absolutely obligatory for the faithful to rest on the Sabbath. Working is prohibited, and it is forbidden to carry an article (keys or a bag, for example) from inside to outside the home.

However, if one refers to the Torah, a town or a city surrounded by walls with gates is considered to be private property; and in such towns or villages a person may transfer articles from his home into the street, or from the street into his home. Today, few modern cities are enclosed by ramparts. Consequently, each person would be required to restrict his activities to the confines of home if not for the dispensations of the Law, which permit the establishment of eruvim. An eruv consists of wires (or string) that form an imaginary wall. In most cases, these “frontiers” are created by erecting posts that are connected by threads of galvanized steel. The area surrounded by the eruv thus becomes a private space within which it is permitted to carry articles during the Sabbath. According to the Torah, in all villages surrounded by an eruv, the public domain may be considered private property.

The stations.

I asked inhabitants of Jerusalem, Israelis and Palestinians, to take me to a public place that they considered private.’

Sophie Calle - 1996

Sophie Calle was born in Paris in 1953. The virtual frontier constituted by the eruv has a particular resonance in her work, which explores the limits between private and public.

mahJ. Acquisition, 1998