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.
A text by Florian Schneider (2011):
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.
A first edited collection of footage from the project was exhibited at the Jerusalem Show, Jerusalem/ Al Quds in October 2009. The film version was made in 2011.
with: Ashok Sukumaran, Nida Ghouse, Mahmoud Jiddah, Shereen Barakat and Mahasen Nasser-Eldin
Curated by Jack Persekian and Nina Montmann
Produced with the support of Al Mamal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem.
Many thanks to : Abu Hassan, Ashraf Bakri, Darwish Kurd, Hovsep Nalbandian, Maali Adris, and Mohamed Saleh, Khadijeh Kanambo and Jumana Aboud for invaluable help with their time, technical resources, and spirit.
In advance of CAMP's solo at De Appel and in collaboration with LIMA - a screening of two of the studio’s earlier acclaimed projects that examine surveillance, society, and cinematic apparatus.
A film program at Slought, with Shaina Anand /CAMP about surveillance systems, critical documentary filmmaking, subjectivity and distribution, and a screening of Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (CTV video, 60 min, 2011), followed by a discussion with filmmaker Shaina and Deborah A. Thomas.
"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."
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...
Opening Show of the Palestinian Museum
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
الجار قبل الدار
The Neighbour Before The House
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
CCTV video, 60 mins Screening and discussion with Ashok Sukumaran and Shaina Anand
New Museum Theater
الجار قبل الدار (Al jaar qabla al dar) The neighbour before the House
A new project by CAMP
at the Jerusalem Show
October 11 to October 20
6pm - 9 pm
Old City, Jerusalem
الجار قبل الدار (Al jaar qabla al dar)
Screening of CAMP's Jerusalem project filmed by residents using a PTZ CCTV camera, followed by a talk.
The International Academy of Art Palestine.
October 15 2009
7:30 - 9:30 pm
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The neighbour before the house)
is part of
The Matter Within
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
October 15 2011 - January 29 2012
Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar
72 mins, CCTV video
at Volte Gallery, Mumbai
as part of
Your Name is Different Here curated by Nancy Adajania
December 3 2011 - January 5 2012
The second segment of FILAMENT starts tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, with CAMP's film, Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The Neighbour Before the House),
CCTV video, 72 mins, 2009-11.
The work will be on view until Friday, 12 July with three shows daily at 2pm, 4pm & 6pm.
2/1 Hindusthan Road, Kolkata 700029
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.
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)
br />CCTV video, 60 mins
Two films by CAMP
Workshop, screening and exhibition as part of India Film Week, Trondheim, Norway
October 4-9, 2011
Video project that takes us on new and recently rebuilt roads in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and India. Endoscopic views from the interior of the road system, and of the interfaces through which pride, money, data, climate, and vulnerability are connected to it, heighten our sense of developmental possibility, failure, and the deep ambiguity of road achievements.
‘A Passage Through Passages’ is a collaboration with anthropologists, and draws upon ethnographic and archival work in five field sites. This film is part of Roads and the Politics of Thought, a European Research Council (No. 616393) funded, 5-year ethnographic study of road-building in South Asia in which CAMP is a partner organisation.
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.
A 100-foot long sequence of photo-cutouts, first shown at the Chennai Photo Biennale, March 2019
20 mins, HD. 2 - channel installation
Filmed in Guangzhou at the Zhuhai International Container Terminal
Single exposure solar cyanotype print on cotton fabric
CAMP with Shunya collective and Clark House Initiative 22 x 5 feet
An image of the sea as its own “country”, with frontier towns at its edges disorients an easy reading of this territory
A three-channel installation from 8mm film From the Clark House family archives, sequenced in a timeline as above. Each screen is a different part of the same 8mm frame, usually a face.
Feature-length travelogue by sea between western India, eastern Africa and the Persian gulf. First shown at a purpose built outdoor cinema on the creekside in Sharjah in 2013, where many of the sailors gather. Shown in Documenta 13 in an abridged form, as part of the installation The Boat Modes.
83 mins. Original format(s): HDV, SDV, VHS, Cellphone videos (variable). Stereo audio and in-cameraphone music.
4 channel HDV, 8 minutes
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.