Art provides ‘milestones of desire and memory’: collective CAMP wins Nam June Paik Art Center Prize

The art collective CAMP has won the 7th Nam June Paik Art Center Prize. Featuring Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran and Sanjay Bhangar the group was founded in 2007 by by Indian-born Anand and Japanese-born Sukumaran, since establishing a name for itself for a research- and technology-based practice. Zoe Butt, artist director of the Factory Contemporary Arts Center, Ho Chi Minh City, and a member of the nomination committee, praised the collective as ‘a site and nexus of rethinking strategies of survival with hands-on technological experimentation […] their commitment to the idea of art as a social sphere of questioning, to which collaboration and exchange is crucial to the challenge of hegemony and its tools, is not only present in their methodologies of making, but also in their critical neighbourliness which embraces openness to all forms of consciousness.’

The group will receive KRW50,000,000 (£33,740) and have been invited to produce a solo exhibition at Nam June Paik Art Center in Yongin, South Korea in 2021.

CAMP, In Cameras Res, 3-channel HD CCTV video, 20 min 40 sec. Camera software: Jan Gerber; courtesy the artists

Writing to accept the award, CAMP said: ‘First, to the jury and the institution, thank you. We are honoured to receive this award in Nam June Paik’s name in this year of ubiquitous, traumatic, and banal media interaction. The 1984 transmission Good Morning Mr. Orwell and the follow-up 1986 Bye Bye Kipling are meaningful and poetic, today.

‘They are reminders above all, that things change, that we can take positions, that we can be wrong or glitch or fail, and that the collective work of artists might still be some of the more vivid milestones we have of desire and memory on Earth. There is an old saying 🙂 about media, that every new medium takes previous ones as its content. So that TV’s content is theatre, film and novels, the internet’s content is TV serials, phone chats and magazines, AI’s content is stuff on the internet, and so on. Nam June Paik showed us that this can also work in reverse, and in many other directions, including barely-perceptible futures. TV can be sculpture, but also a garden, or planetary-scale broadcast art. And not just as metaphors. There are moves other than cannibalisation, academisation, stuffing one thing into another to reap some profits. Art is not a subset of existing culture. Technology is not exhausted by its current deployment, or its critique.

‘You and your friends can and should, dare to again play in the gardens or sewers of the “medium”, which after all is just another word for the environments we are in. CAMP cherishes and hopes to relay the artistic but also more general values of getting one’s hands dirty, lightness, radiant generosity, transnationalism, media specificity, courage, relentlessness; historically alive, time and space bending, friendship and invention that are our translation, of what this award contains. We wish to thank all our collaborators, and friends and comrades of CAMP, over the years. Onwards.’

CAMP’s work has been shown at MoMA and Anthology Film Archives, New York; Tate Modern and Serpentine Galleries, London; HKW Berlin, Ars Electronica, Linz; Sharjah Biennial; documenta in Kassel and Skulptur Projekte Münster. From their home base in Chuim village, Mumbai, they co-host the online archives and, and have run a rooftop cinema for the past 14 years.

They were awarded the prize by a jury that featured Beck Jee-sook, director, Seoul Museum of Art; Daniel Birnbaum, director, Acute Art;
Dieter Daniels, professor, Art History and Media Theory, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig; Kim Seong Eun, director, Nam June Paik Art Center; and Eugene Tan director, National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum.

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