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.
Our text in the triennial catalogue, "A Million Miles from Home":
What could it mean to extend “watching the coast” to “filming the sea”?
Are there any National Sea Film Institutions? There should be.
Because on the one hand, as the anthropologist Michael Taussig describes it,
the modern sea is an image, a wallpaper
backdrop for a Malibu or Folkestone lifestyle. On the other hand, in mostly
invisible movements, the seas transport more than 90% of all global trade. So from
any given coastline, the sea is an image, and it is not, too. Images of the sea remind
us of this situation precisely: that what you can see is always just the surface, the proverbial
tip of the iceberg.
One eye or two? The inorganic, technological eye not only extends, but exacerbates human vision (i.e. could also make it worse). In a way, every optical instrument produces a new visual “medium”, like painting or television. A telescope is a medium. So is radar. So is a wink. Such mediations and their effects enter parasitic exchanges with other mediums like film or photography. For instance in the 18th Century seaside Camera Obscura, before cinema, outside which people would often line up and pay good money, just to see an image of the very same outside they just walked in from. This kind of power is not only a technical matter (it is), but also a matter of context: the lines were longest when there were lovers on the beach.
For the NCI Folkestone, the usual area of interest is the immediate vicinity of
Copt Point, a “blind spot” for Dover Coastguard. But binoculars don't have speed limits, or built-in censors.
In other words, what can be seen is somehow uncontrollable. It will include banana carriers and gin palaces and local fishermen that one knows. The open sea makes it impossible to watch only protectively, it asks us to watch longingly, expectingly, embarrassedly and helplessly too.
There is a room behind the film that you see here, full of voices, radio, and conversations. As the nature of watching shifts, sound does too, and we hear the overlap and struggles for space between different “sources”:
coastguard radio, AIS, google searches, personal memories, shared
humour, BBC radio.
In the so-called “big society”, volunteers will self-organise to do what the state now does. Education, basic services, and policing. But surely one of the preconditions of voluntary work is to be able to determine one’s own sense of what duty is: and in which way one chooses to become part of the images one sees, or films.
00:05 Fire in the warren, but Viking Princess leaves harbour
00:56 Sea Shell and struggles with a pot
04:03 Peter and Peter picking pots
05:31 Fisheries Patrol!
08 04 Genesis outside a decommissioned harbour
08:49 A phone call
10:48 Bombin’ it into the harbour, past all the boats there
12:19 That clock has been repaired
13:05 Gandhi-jaan comes to Folkestone harbour
15:51 The Burstin and news on the radio
16:22 The Mermaid
16:37 Olympic tickets
16:59 Paddling on Sunny Sands
17:39 Canoeist? Kayaker?
18:27 Wind blows the magpies, can’t see Dover
19:35 Dramatic but dangerous
20:36 P &O ferry sheltering from the storm
21:27 Stone from the Needles
22:32 You were a P & O guy, weren’t you?
23:31 Saga Ruby leaves Dover for the fjords.
28:12 Norwegian Sun
29:00 MSC Orchestra
29:27 The largest container ship in the world
31:35 The Algerian Navy
32:55 The Royal Navy
33:54 The Belgian Navy
34:56 Its there, but you can’t see it
35:48 Shabab Oman
36:09 Lady Shana and MOL Magnificent
36:35 COSCO Indian Ocean
37:43 More boxes going south
39:15 A pan of the French coastline
41:10 CMA CGM and, is it an island?
42:35 Drilling platform on the Osprey
42:47 Is it a plane, or just the wings?
43:07 A close call
45:43 In contravention of Rule 10 of the collision regulations
46:06 Gin palace
46:36 Finally, a rainbow you can see
47:04 UK Border Agency, formerly Customs and Excise
47:48 Water cannon in the front
48:21 Anglian Monarch
49:28 Dave Watkins
50:45 Survey vessel
51:13 Playing survey-survey in the harbour
51:25 Extremely close-up
51:40 Police boat with many empty seats
52:27 Up and Under
54:10 An invasion of seagulls
54:41 The “Archbishop” and the dig
56:38 Gurkhas on the east cliff
57:16 Where are you?
57:55 (Sky)diver and a poem
59:46 Watchkeeper and biscuit after a hard days work
By: Shaina Anand, Iyesha Geeth Abbas, Ashok Sukumaran and Guy Mannes-Abbott
Produced by the Folkestone Triennial 2011, curated by Andrea Schlieker
At the NCI, thanks to
with thanks to Mukul Patel (sound), Zinnia Ambapardiwala, Sanjay Bhangar, and Aarthi Parthasarathy (at CAMP)
and further thanks to Annett Busch, Florian Schneider, Annemie Maes, Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Trudi Mann (all for Brussels, where we were stuck), Jennifer Thatcher, Niamh Sullivan (at the Triennial), and people at the Ship Inn, the Mariner, the True Briton and Gillespie's (in the Folkestone harbour).
For All Vahanvatti is designed to help a group think from the sea, rather than from the land. CAMP with Reliable Copy Propositions.
September 19-22, 2013
as part of
Pekham Artists Moving Image
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...
A journey with CAMP’s five-year Wharfage project and related maritime explorations.
Five films by CAMP curated by Vassily Bourikas and Filmmaker Festival
6:00 pm Khirkeeyaan (2006) 17 mins
and Hum Logos (2012) 45 mins
at Careof DOCVA, Milan
Cinema Palestrina, Milan
The Neighbour before the House (2011) 60 mins
From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf (2013), 83 mins
The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories (2011), 60 mins
A film that compiles observations made by volunteer guards watching the English Channel, over one year. Filmed by small cameras connected to the eyepieces of telescopes.
At first, a project on the creek in Sharjah in 2009, from where a large number of ships leave for Somali ports.
20 mins, HD. 2 - channel installation
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‘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 5-year ethnographic study of road-building in South Asia.
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
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.
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.
Act II (Hum Logos) is a 45-minute audio film spliced from the Pad.ma collection of the Radia Tapes. It covers two months after the Indian general elections of 2009, with the new cabinet in power. The film asks: if debate around these tapes was about whether they are edited or not, or as Justice Mukhopadhay put it, "splice has been added", then what can further editing do?
An exhibition that builds upon photos of another exhibition that was made of photos of....