L'école des pickpockets [The School for Pickpockets]

Sven Augustijnen


Video, 00:52:00.
Materials: dvd

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK007564).

In L’Ecole des pickpockets [The School for Pickpockets], Sven Augustijnen shows how two experienced professional pickpockets transform an aspiring novice into a promising talent after only a few hours instruction in a closed rehearsal room, a fictitious training centre for pickpockets. The pupil is initiated into the craft step by step, and various tricks are demonstrated and practised. First a mannequin is used for the exercises, then some willing volunteers are brought in at random off the street. Sven Augustijnen makes the viewer uncertain with a narrative structure halfway between fiction and reality, between a fiction film and an educational human interest report on pickpockets. As a spectator it is impossible to distinguish between fact and fiction. L’Ecole des pickpockets was made as part of Brussels 2000, cultural capital of Europe. In this context, artists infiltrated their work into the underground tram connection between the North and South stations in Brussels.

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