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In 2009, Elisabeth and I extensively cruised America on Google Street View. We checked endless miles of desert roads without ever seeing anything worth of interest. And then one day, unexpectedly, something happened within the boring Street View scenery: on the main street of a tranquil town in South Dakota, we encountered a man with a heavy assault weapon, flashing a glance to the camera lens of the passing Google car. 


This anecdotal event became the pretext for us to launch an on-site photographic investigation. Flying to South Dakota to "investigate" a man with rifle seen on the Internet, the idea may seem weird. After all, what does it mean to be witness to an event on a digital platform like Google Street View? Is it not to give undue importance to a trivial navigation tool? In order to cope with the issue, we decided to make a detour via fiction. With Google Street View, a war- or crime-related picture had been sent out to the world: that was our conjecture for Dakotagate. 

Our tour began on July 10, 2010 at 7th Street, Rapid City, at the exact location where the Google picture had been taken. In minutes, we solved the riddle of the man with machine gun. No big surprise: a gun supermarket is next door. Obviously, the man is a regular customer of the store. A citizen who, as we were told, is exercising his constitutional right to carry a firearm... 

Images © Carine Krecké, First Stop Guns, 501 7th Street, Rapid City, SD, 2010 


This could have been the end of our inquiry. However, we decided it was not. We wanted to know more about that man walking the street with an assault weapon. We started drawing a map of firearm related acts or crimes in the area of Rapid City. After compiling data from all kinds of archives (police, justice department, local press...), we patrolled the area within a radius of approximately 100 miles. We documented the sites mentioned in the reports with photos and notes, in order to construct a sort of narrative map. Inevitably, we winded up in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Lakota Sioux, about a hundred miles south of Rapid City, a fascinating area, haunted by a series of unsolved crimes....


1 - The Dakotagate archive

Dakotagate is an archive containing photographs taken onsite, interview transcripts, drawings, and open source justice and police records

FBI documents and photos

Images © Carine Krecké, 2010 (unless specified otherwise)
Documents: police records (FBI), American Justice Department and other open-source files.

2- Trails + Trials

The Wounded Knee Siege


3 - Unincorporated

Google Street View based narrative essay

Exhibition catalogue published by Nei Liicht Art Center, Luxembourg, 2012

Text and images : Carine & Elisabeth Krecké / Preface : Julie Fabre (in French)

Mise en page: Bunkerpalace

ISBN-10 2-91993-27-5

Exhibition at Nei Liicht Art Center, Luxembourg, 2012

Curator: Danièle Igniti


Project supported by:

Aide à la publication, FOCUNA, Luxembourg

Bourse d'Aide à la Création, Centre National de l'Audiovisuel, 2012

Ville de Dudelange

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