Jean can be visited on the train via the passenger’s smartphone. The work is inspired by a manifesto by Jean Tinguely, in which he calls on us to throw away our watches and to put the minutes and hours aside. With railway time, a universal clock was first introduced in 1885 only valid on board the train, replacing local times. Today Jean acts as a timekeeper and travel companion, allowing us to forget about (clock)time for the duration of one journey.
It is still possible to experience the work (smartphone only) by clicking on the link below.
Today we do not tolerate someone just disconnecting, even if it is a fictional character. A blank screen makes us anxious, unsettled, uncertain. Because of this uncertainty (and my impatience), I initially fail to understand you. To understand what you are inviting me to: to deal not only with the other person sitting across from me, but especially with myself, with my own body. When we say that we want to “seize the moment,” what we really mean is: we want to feel our bodies, something that, because of the infernal pace we impose on ourselves, we rarely get to anymore. Our obsession with clock time actually leads to a lack of body. What you hold for me is not time, but state. As conceptual as that sounds, the effect is physical. Radical, too: you simply make it impossible for me to continue ignoring my body by, for example, texting someone. Your strategy is simple but brilliant. You add nothing to my travel experience, you fill in nothing. You only give me something in return. The opportunity not to render. Seizing that opportunity is an act of defiance.
(fragment of a text by) Evelyne Coussens
Jean was made in the context of EUROPALIA Trains & Tracks and in collaboration with the Dutch Railway company. Access to Jean could be found via the electronic billboards at the Dutch train stations and via the information screens inside the trains. On March 22, 2022, the project was launched in the Royal Waiting Room of Amsterdam Central Station. On February 1, 2023, Jean returned to the Dutch Railways and was launched with a lecture performance in the Royal Waiting Room.
Ehud Neuhaus, Yvonne van Versendaal, Elowise Vandenbroecke, SoAP Maastricht, EUROPALIA Trains & Tracks, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NMBS, C-TAKT, Workspace Brussels, De Grote Post, Marie-Ève Tesch, Liz Morrison
2022 22 Mrt – 15 May Europalia Trains & Tracks, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NMBS (NL/BE)
2023 31 Jan – 12 Feb Beyond the Black Box, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NL)