CAMP | Two Stages Of Invention: Experimenter – Hindustan Road

23 September - 19 November 2011

Experimenter presents a solo, Two Stages of Invention, by CAMP. This exhibition suggests an after-life and before-life for two of art's usual objects. The first, The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, is a film based on video material gathered over a year on the English Channel, now re-installed in the gallery. The second, Pal, Pal, Pal, Pal... is a formal response to "leaks", through a treatment of the Radia tap(e)s as a screenplay accompanied by an audio guide. Both of these moments, like in much of CAMP’s work, are lit up by separate alignments of government, technology, and opportunity... but also by ships, voices, spectra and prayers, as we will find in the exhibition.

1. A recent CAMP project, The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, was based in Folkestone, on the English Channel. For it, coastguards at the National Coastwatch Institution in Folkestone filmed the sea through their telescopes for over a year, rather than just watching the coast. Their “duties” and their tools were both reinvented, towards a broader sense of what happens at sea, rather than merely the protection of the shoreline. This could be seen as universal, i.e. applying to watchkeepers, timekeepers, security guards and guard-institutions elsewhere. Also invoked is the Big Society, and other notions of what could happen when the state "withdraws", and encourages volunteer-based services such as the coastwatch.

A 60-minute film made from this footage that was installed “site-specifically” at the NCI, is now put online and simultaneously installed in the gallery in Kolkata. Much like the coastwatchers themselves, the film now pushes beyond its own given "horizon", and begins to act at a distance. Reviews of the film installed in Folkestone for the Triennial (currently on, upto Sept. 25, 2011) have been very warm: “I’d happily stay all day” (Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 26 June 2011), “the volunteer’s cricket–style commentary makes the film so enjoyable” (David Trigg, Art Monthly, September 2011).

2. Is a “sketch” in response to the question: when data leaks, how to approach this as an aesthetic problem? 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 seemed to be enough to make us all engaged voyeurs. But perhaps a more interesting kind of feeling, 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.

CAMP suggests through this exhibition that instead of fetishizing “process” as something incomplete, flowing, etc. it is rather more interesting to view art practice, and even an artwork itself, as passing through a set of concrete stages, or steps: each of which offers a new space for invention.