Paulien Oltheten

Lourdes TV

“I watched the Lourdes webcam for more than a year. Rain or shine, pandemic or not, the tight Catholic routines carried on 24/7 on this online platform. The livestream can be followed via a number of webcams, mainly via one focused on the Grotto of the Apparitions. You can scroll back up to 12 hours on the timeline. Within a week I saw many wonderful occurrences. Especially the moments when the rigid (daily) routines of the holy place were interrupted by the more earthly, practical and human imperfections. The perspective was also interesting. Through the webcam, I sometimes felt like some kind of all-seeing eye looking down on people from above. Or as if I were sitting on the upper row of an outdoor theatre with the altar as the stage and the Cave of Apparitions as the backdrop. During this performance, I share my gaze, my Lourdes TV findings, with the audience. Returning pilgrims become personages and slowly it becomes clear that I am watching it for a reason.”, Paulien Oltheten

As a contemporary urban anthropologist, Paulien Oltheten analyses and documents human behaviour in public space, often in a purposefully chosen location or context.

Oltheten studied at the Academy of Art and Design in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (2000-2004) and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (2005-2006). Her work has been shown at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam) and Galerie Fons Welters (Amsterdam), Jeu de Paume (Paris), Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), among others. She won the Dutch Doc Award (2012) and the Nouveau Prix Découverte des Rencontres d’Arles (2018), and has been a resident at ISCP New York (2013) and Cité internationale des arts in Paris (2017), among others.