The Country of the Sea

CAMP in collaboration with Clark House Initiative /Shunya Collective present a contemporary map of these seas, based on CAMP’s 5-year project with Gujarati sailors in the Western Indian Ocean, from Kuwait to Mombasa.

In a remarkable Gujarati chart of the Gulf of Aden dated around 1810, we see a drawing of parallel Arabian and Somali coasts, heavily travelled by Gujarati sailors since the 17th century. The coasts in this map are crafted and detailed, and create the impression of a world populated on its edges by different civilisations, bordering and channelling the faraway movements of sailors and traders from India.

CAMP in collaboration with Clark House Initiative present a contemporary map of these seas, based on CAMP’s 5-year project with Gujarati sailors in the Western Indian Ocean, from Kuwait to Mombasa. This is an unusual sort of map that brings the coasts of India, Africa, Iran and the Arab states in dialogue with each other. Inspired by the chart from 1810 mentioned above, the coastlines now come closer together and evoke the cultural proximities and divides produced by these seas, so important to the city of Mumbai which also features prominently at one of its edges.

The map is 22 feet by 5 feet high, and is designed to fit into the central room of the Kamalnayan Bajaj galleries in the Museum and is produced using Using single exposure solar cyanotype print. More than 100 cities and small ports from Khor al Zubair/ Basra to the Mozambique corridor from north-south, and from Mumbai to Berbera east-west, are marked on the map. But the shape of the map disorients an easy reading of this territory as the usual physical geography. It provokes an image of the sea as its own “country”, with frontier towns at its edges. The work establishes the materiality of the sea that we (some of us) see out of our windows in Mumbai, but whose other faraway edges we have lost awareness of. It brings these edges back into geological and cultural play, as if the pre- historic “breakaway” of the Indian landmass from Africa in what has been called Gondwanaland, was never a complete success.

It forms the centre-piece or title work of CAMP's AS IF-III solo, which is also named Country of the Sea.

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, 2013

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.

Unpacking "Country of the Sea"

A non-imperial view from the 'Other Boat', counter to images of the 'distressed seas'. With a presentation and screening of From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf at Transmediale 2018.

Country of the Sea

CAMP at Transmediale 2018, Berlin with reprinted Wharfage, The Annotated "Gujarat and the Sea" Exhibition and The Country of the Sea cyanotype.

As If - III Country of the Sea

A journey with CAMP’s five-year Wharfage project and related maritime explorations.

Country of the Sea

As If – III Country of the Sea
DR. BHAU DHAJI LAD MUSEUM, Mumbai
February 21 - April 2 2015

A journey with CAMP’s five-year Wharfage project and related maritime explorations.

The Country of the Sea

Single-exposure solar cyanotype print on cotton fabric
2015
16 X 5 feet
at Experimenter, Kolkata
Raster-Emerging from the grid
November 18 to December 31, 2016

CAMP with Shunya Collective present a large solar cyanotype map of the sea, part of the long-term maritime project Wharfage.



A Passage through Passages, 2020

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.

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.

A Photogenetic Line, 2019

A 100-foot long sequence of photo-cutouts, first shown at the Chennai Photo Biennale, March 2019

Matrix : Skulptur Projekt Münster, 2017

MATRIX
Of mother, womb, array, environment in which more specialised structures can grow.

Theater Münster
Neubrückenstraße 63
10 Jun - 1 Oct, 2017
Site-specific installation with Electric cable, switches, speakers, monitors, custom electronics.

Men-At-Work with Boxes in Stereo

20 mins, HD. 2 - channel installation
Cantonese, Mandarin
Filmed in Guangzhou at the Zhuhai International Container Terminal

Descendants, 2014

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.

Destuffing Matrix

4 channel HDV, 8 minutes

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.

Hum Logos

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?

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.

All Works