For many years, I collected identity documents, passports, and credit cards from street robberies.
Between 1998 and 2003, robberies of tourists occurred at a constant rate in the historic centre of Barcelona, where I lived. The narrow, labyrinthine and poorly lit streets of this area provided an ideal setting for the rapid escape of the robbers, who found innumerable points where they could quickly empty the contents of the stolen suitcases and wallets, take the cash and abandon the remains.
I got to know the location of these inconspicuous places well and thus recovered a large number of documents.
For the presentation of the project in the Passage Souterrain, 25 of these documents traveled to Paris camouflaged under the guise of artistic objects. They were framed as works of art, signed and numbered by the author and transported by a specialized art handler, adhering to all the usual bureaucratic requirements.
In doing so, the artistic system, with its gimmicks and standard methodologies, became a screen to hide a crime, since the possession of identification documents belonging to other individuals is a criminal act in itself and, therefore, a punishable situation. .
It is a crime, on the other hand, carried out against "the State", since the documents do not belong to individuals, but to the states of which they are citizens.
Once in Paris, the documents were stripped of their artistic camouflage and installed on the walls of the Passage Souterrain. By becoming material available to anyone who wanted to take them, they recovered their criminal origin.
The documents disappeared in the first 24 hours.
Years later, a new iteration of this project was presented at the Van Abbemuseum, within the Arte Util Museum exhibition.
Contrary to what happened in Paris, none of the documents made available on this occasion were taken by the attendees, despite the information in the exhibition space that invited them to do so, highlighting the mismatch between the institutional space and the everyday sphere.