She decided that she had two choices, to either move into fiction which, she felt, was less problematic, or to “stay with the trouble”, to let the problems drive the work into becoming something more in line with her politics and way of seeing the world. She also wanted to “ trouble” the triangular relationship of author, subject and technology, so that it favoured the subject more.

CAMP came together as a group in 2007, initially consisting of Shaina Anand (filmmaker and artist), Sanjay Bhangar (software programmer) and Ashok Sukumaran (architect and artist) in Mumbai. The intersection of their skills and different backgrounds created a vital spark in which to experiment with technology and ask deep questions about form and ways of making radical political work. It gave Shaina the platform to eschew conservative approaches to documentary with “the colonial male gaze.”

CAMP members at CAMP studio, Mumbai

In CAMP’s work screening at the Flaherty in upstate New York in June, I felt that every part of the process of documentary making had been deftly unpacked and put back together again to reflect vital contemporary political concerns within the actual structure of the work or its distribution, not just its content. The films also gained a startling intimacy with the subjects.

Al Jaar Qabla Al Daar (The Neighbor Before the House) arose from experiments they had already made with CCTV (closed-circuit television) in 2008 in Manchester when the group managed to gain access to the CCTV control room of one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. In 2009, they used the same crass, cheap technology, using it to pan, zoom, and crash in on a neighbourhood in Jerusalem where Palestinians had been evicted, a place in which it would otherwise have been impossible to film. The sense of community of a neighbourhood had been violated and transgressed by grotesque occupation and conflict. CAMP used technology not only to reinforce a victim/ occupier narrative but to challenge it intrinsically with the method of making the work.

Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran of CAMP

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