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
Swearing-In-Whispers, 2011

A screenplay in Courier 12pt melodramatic format, spanning the first three days of lobbying for cabinet spots, in the wake of the Indian general elections of 2009. The dialogue is entirely from phone taps made by the government. The screenplay slows them down and asks: what kinds of environments and scenes may lie behind them, and how are they connected?

Printed screenplay and IVR-based phone line, audience can type in scene numbers to hear dialogue in the original voices. Also performed as a reading.

At e-flux NYC

Opening November 10, 6pm
With a reading of the screenplay
Act I: Swearing-in Whispers followed by a screening of
Act-II: Hum Logos

Corruption: Everybody Knows curated by Natasha Ginwala, continues through December 19, 2015 at E-flux, NY

The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories, 2011

A film that compiles observations made by volunteer guards watching the English Channel, over one year. Filmed by small cameras connected to the eyepiece of telescopes. Produced with the National Coastwatch Institution, Folkestone, Kent, UK.

60 minutes, 5.1 surround sound.

Electronic Ear Cleaning

A project of listening, including with our ears, to some materials that seem to not touch us directly, but make up our "environment".

You Are Now

as part of
Proposals for a Memorial to Partition
Curated by Murtaza Vali

CAMP draws a series of lines between this and that exhibition. Not only between country A and country B, or horizontally between peoples or on the plane of "cultural exchanges" or "extra-national space", but vertically, or diagonally, reaching out to an actual place, to its actual power and presence.


at de(Coding) Mumbai
With Shaina, Ashok, Simpreet
and Adarsh, Alyque, Naezy, Nayak, Medha, Sandeep, Rajjo, Tiger...

Passages through Passages الرفيق قبل الطريق

A survey exhibition of the spatial, technical and cultural imaginations cultivated by CAMP.

When the Cold Blows

A performance by our collaborators on, Seoul Express. More details:

The Neighbour before the House الجار قبل الدار

New Media Gallery

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf

Watch and Chill
West Kowloon Cultural District

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