[4th WAB meeting] #11 17 Footfall amulets that are actually worth the stampede

opening Sunday 25.10.2020 / 17:00 - 21:30

meet-up at Hacktiris (6th floor), Rue Paul Devauxstraat 5, 1000 Brussels

English spoken. Places are limited, please make a reservation (loes@nadine.be). (!) Please bring your mask. We will take precautions to keep safety distances during the whole evening.

supported by Constant vzw, Dagvorm Cinema

Alex Zakkas and Kurt Tichy are invited by nadine to give a talk about their ongoing research on wireless tracking of mobile phones in public space; a surveillance practice that seems to connect shop windows with crowd management, pigeon flight paths and dropped waffles.
Zakkas and Tichy have been looking into such techniques and means currently used in Brussels, by observing their presence and functioning on the street. In this talk, they will lay their observations open for discussion, and afterwards we will have a walk in the surrounding streets to test a proposal for means of counter-footfall*.

The walk is followed by a movie screening. Co-researcher Dennis Pohl will introduce a documentary by Harun Farocki** that covers the genealogy of the current footfall systems.

Plan for the evening:
(!change of schedule due to new measures regarding Corona virus!)
17:00 Presentation + Walk
19:00 Break + Food
19:00 Movie screening The Creators of Shopping Worlds (72min)


* Footfall is a term used in the retail industry to refer to the number of customers setting foot on a retail space. Counting people by tracking mobile phones has become a widespread practice in surveying crowds, managing public events and shaping urbanist development.

** The Creators of Shopping Worlds by Harun Farocki (2005, 72min)
The designing of shopping malls is overseen by an army of planners, managers and scientists: there are consultants, re-launch analysts, a central association, mall magazines. 6000 guests and laboratories attended an annual convention in Las Vegas at which questions were investigated as where the gaze of a customer falls and how a “spontaneous” purchase can be induced. Farocki shows how mall producers look at malls when they want to find out, for example, how passers-by move, where they stop and where they reach for an article. He adds these images to the everyday ones – and gives them a magical charge.


[FR] Alex Zakkas et Kurt Tichy présentent leurs recherches en cours sur le suivi sans fil des téléphones portables dans l’espace public au moyen de « footfall » ( terme utilisé dans le secteur du commerce de détail pour désigner le nombre de clients qui mettent le pied dans un espace commercial. Le comptage des personnes à l’aide de téléphones mobiles est devenu une pratique très répandue pour surveiller les foules, gérer les événements publics et façonner le développement urbain).
Ils soumettent leurs observations à la discussion, puis proposent aux participants une balade dans les rues environnantes afin de tester de nouveaux moyens de comptabilisation. La marche sera suivie d’une projection d’un film documentaire de Harun Farocki.