CAMP: Two Stages of Invention

Experimenter, Kolkata
September 23, 2011 - December 8, 2011

This exhibition proposes an after-form and before-form for two of art's (and our own) usual objects. The first is a film that was shot over last year on the English Channel that is now re-installed in Kolkata, making a certain claim for its universality. The second is a "not-yet-film" treatment of the Radia leaks as a screenplay, with an audio guide as its soundtrack. Both these are moments lit up by separate alignments of, broadly, government, technology, and opportunity...


In a recent CAMP project in Folkestone on the English Channel, volunteer guards filmed the sea through their telescopes for over a year, in a reinvention of "duty", a cultivation of new interests and humour, and an untooling of tools, that could be seen as universal. That is, watchkeepers, timekeepers, guards, guard-machines, fishing and shipping elsewhere are implicated, but so is the Big Society, and other questions of what happens when the state "withdraws".  A film made from this footage that was installed at the location it was shot in, is now put online and simultaneously installed in the gallery in Kolkata, thus moving past its own "horizon", and starting to act at a distance.

Part two is a sketch in response to the question: when data leaks, how to approach this as an aesthetic problem? Which catching positions or hungry gods are invented by leaks, that did or didn't exist before? How to feel a leak, and by what means, especially at the scale at which recent digital leaks have occurred?  In the case of the Radia tapes, TV-sized sound bytes were enough to make us all engaged voyeurs.  But perhaps a more interesting kind of feeling, recognition, or effect, lies somewhere between the allure of individual conversations, and the big dump of information that the leak represents... a level that has to be invented. Suggesting such a level in the exhibition is a screenplay treatment based on the Radia tapes released so far, along with a comprehensive "audio guide" as its soundtrack.

If creativity is chain-like, with inspiration, calculation, handover, surrender, and revelatory events in the world all appearing regularly, then what part of this is to be displayed?  No, we don't have to exhibit artistic "process" as incompleteness, waiting, and so on. The proposal here is the opposite one: that "process" is best viewed as a concrete set of stages, each of which offers a certain space for invention.

Gallery: CAMP: Two Stages of Invention
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