Al Jaar Qabla al Daar at Sharjah Biennial 10

A 72-minute film resulting from a CCTV video project shot in Jerusalem/ Al Quds with eight palestinian families, from and around their homes. Screenings are every 90 minutes starting 10 am, the last screening is at 8 pm. At Bait Al Serkal, Upto May 7, 2011.

A note in the catalogue, by Florian Schneider:

CAMP
Al Jaar Qabla al Daar
(The Neighbour before the House)
Jerusalem, 2009

When the Israeli government demolished the Moroccan Quarter in 1967, it was the fifth and smallest of old Jerusalem's neighbourhoods. Private property was converted into public space: the former Moroccan Quarter is now a large open plaza leading up to the Western Wall, in use as an open-air synagogue.

At first glance, the idea of a neighbourhood appears as the most obvious contradiction to the series of displacements, deferrals, distortions and fault lines existing on the surface of this highly volatile, contested and segmented city. 

Neighbours are supposed to know each other. The neighbourhood is that part of the otherwise anonymous cityscape, where one is recognised, or where the subject is hailed. Neighbours can encounter each other without technical mediation; they meet and greet face to face, everything is within walking distance.  Such a more or less homogenous local environment is ruled by specific circumstances that are characterised precisely by the fact that they are not globally valid, that are not exchangeable or even communicable. It is grounded in the production of a self that claims the right to the given territory: to be exactly and exclusively here, often as a result of ownership or property.

But this idealised notion of a setting and the staging for the production of  ‘everyday life’ on the threshold of public and private space, needs to be governed by an archaic rule that prevents the self from selfishness: watch out for the neighbour and "love him or her as yourself!" The Golden Rule of ethical reciprocity and fair play – -doing as one would be done by – treats the neighbour as the "other", who then becomes universal. The homogenisation of a local environment as a ‘neighbourhood’ then correlates with the moral purification of a community, a people, or humankind.

What we can see in the video project Al Jaar Qabla al Daar, is a neighbourhood in a state of permanent crisis. Spatial proximity does not produce any sense of community, but does the opposite. What was private space becomes public; what was private life becomes political.

Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar  sets out to reverse engineer  the neighbourhood as a machine for self-monitoring and surveillance, one that normally turns contingency into consistency and the visible into the sensible.  Here the neighbourhood can only be encountered through a technological device that produces closeness and remoteness, which would otherwise remain entirely abstract. The constant zooming in and zooming out of the camera constitutes a rather peculiar artificiality of the picture: operational by a factor X that multiplies the amount of detailed information at the price of context. This is a regime of visibility that promises to provide access to what would otherwise, and in the true sense of the word, be inaccessible, since one would not be allowed to go there, or know how to understand what is going on.

The results are profane and deconsecrated icons that map lost properties as robbed and removed social relationships. And this is everything but self-explanatory: one needs a speech that goes against the grain of the all too obvious status quo. A speech that reads out the secrets of dispossession and renders every property decipherable as an appropriation; that is twisted and oblique, but nevertheless takes place in the first person. 

It is the iconic quality of the pictures, their status as operational images, that marks the impossibility to make "a film" in the first place.  The neighbourhood is scattered and inaccessible, the neighbour is turning out to be  a monster. Going beyond the technical misuse of surveillance technologies, the filming methods open up to new potentials: a house becomes a support for a camera, a sort of tripod built from stones. The petrified position of the camera only allows movements on a fragile surface of the image. It is not possible to change the perspective and switch from one self to another.

There is an unforeseeable and incalculable quality of the material itself: the self-centeredness of the picture does not pretend to include or exclude anything or anyone; it can be virtually anywhere. It opens up a third realm that is neither subjective nor objective, a space which may be characterised by a new, radical form of hospitality that could allow us to escape the discourses of property, security and paranoia.




Gallery: Al Jaar Qabla al Daar at Sharjah Biennial 10
Vikalp @ Prithvi + Q & A with CAMP

Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
The Neighbour before the House
(60 mins)
2009
Arabic and English with English Subtitles.

We Begin by Measuring Distance

Works in Palestine by Basma Al Sharif and CAMP
at Cinema Project, Portland
November 8th, 2013
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The Neighbour before the House)
CCTV video, 60 mins

Palestine-Israel Double Bill

If Jerusalem is the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and on the eve of Netanyahu's visit to a historically Palestine-friendly India, we bring you two films with surprising images and voices...

In Cameras Res, 2019

De Appel, Amsterdam

On three screens, a city-symphony filmed by automated CCTV cameras in Amsterdam. The optical and motor capacities of these cameras are pushed to an extreme. Certain human subjects reappear near or far in the images, suggesting a form of reciprocal knowledge or intent, a secret pact between cameras and people.

Al jaar qabla al daar (The neighbour before the house), 2009-2011

الجار قبل الدار

“The Neighbour before the House” is a series of video probes into the landscape of East Jerusalem. Shot with a CCTV security camera, these images show that before and after instrumental "surveillance", there is inquisitiveness, jest, memory, desire and doubt that pervades the project of watching. In these specific times and places, camera movements and live commentary become ways in which Palestinian residents evaluate what can be seen, and speak about the nature of their distance from others.

60 mins, SD CCTV video and sync audio.

The Neighbour before the House

"The Neighbour Before the House deals with the effects and narrative remainders of a (warfare) technology and proposes a method of witnessing, a witness machine."



Flashback Friday!

ReMembering
EK DOZEN PAANI
(2008)

Join us for a special Flashback Friday evening, as we journey back with the films in the presence of, and in conversation with many of the filmmaker’s accompanied by bonus archival material.

PaNi SaRe DhaGa Ma (Water Is In All The Clouds) as the sargam notes and title connote was an exploration of the many lives of water - social, political, material, and spectral - as lived and experienced by young dwellers of the Mumbai suburbs of east Jogeshwari in 2008

CAMP awarded Nam June Paik Art Center Prize 2020

Image: CAMP studio (handmade book scanner, optical scanner, four computers, NVR recorder, joystick, microphones, salad box, water, biscuits, coffee on the folding table. Bookshelves made of paper rolls, books, routers, awards, air conditioning and fan above. Inventory of electronics + museum of Jurassic technology below the tables, flooring replaced from wear. Some persons on a break, a person taking the picture.)

Ghar Mein Shehar Hona Part 2

Part 2 of the housing histories project, From Footpath to Flat (via FSI) is online.

Ghar Mein Shehar Hona part 1

Part 1 of the housing histories project, Ghar Mein Shehar Hona: From Janata Colony to Janata Colony (imaginary to destroyed), is online.

Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Ja Riya Hoon

7:00pm
Followed by a discussion with Anamika Haksar and many cast and crew members.

As part of Mother Courage and her Unruly, Loving Children

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf

Punto De Vista
International Documentary Festival of Navarra
Retrospective: Oceanic Feeling

All Events