York I- New York II - Baltimore
- Kent - Cleveland -
Camp Perry - Detroit -
and Sofia interviewed by Janet Colemen
NYC -- JUNE
24 2006 -- WKCR
Camp Frequencies - Security and Its Discontents
A live radio program by artists Ayreen and Rene, including conversations, readings, and interviews with former Legal Director at Center for Constitutional Rights, Jeff Fogel, and a prayer from Reverand Billy.
This edition of Camp
Frequencies is organized by the artists, facilitated by Federico Marulanda,
and co-presented by WKCR and Art in General. What is legal status of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay? Who is the subject of human rights? What is the status of a human being who has been stripped of any legal standing or any political rights? What is the relation of the exception to the norm? How to open up this discussion to a wider public and to do so in all of its complexities? How to underline the fact that THIS IS NOT ONLY about the camp in Guantanamo Bay, without forgetting the torturous situation confronted by detainees and their families? What kind of campaign do we seek? In what language will we communicate this campaign? Who is posited as our public? How will the public be addressed? What is to be done by our public once they have made contact with our campaign?
Baltimore -- JULY 6 2006 -- BIG MAMMA'S House
Big Mamma's House is a self-organized community space. In the summer time, they provide a day camp proghram for children. We met Annie Chambers, a former Black Panther, local organizer, and welfare advocate this May as we were investigating some of the topics for the campaign. We stopped by in Baltimore to organize a discussion with her and the kids in this summer's program. Using some of the pins which we have created as campaign material, we asked the children to offer up interpretations for what the pins meant. What followed is a discussion about our relation to the law and the government. The children talk about a variety of things including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prison system, racism, the Black Panthers, and their relation to the city.
Kent -- JULY 09 2006 -- Kent State University
We visited the parking lot and memorial where four students were killed by National Guard Soldiers at a demonstration against the Vietnam War on May 4th 1970 protesting. How is dissent silenced? What forms of resistance are effective today?
Cleveland -- JULY 09 2006 -- Lakewood
In Lakewood, as the 122nd Army Band from Columbus Ohio played a host of military tunes, we set up an inpromptu stage for distributing our campaign materials and speaking with individuals about Guantanamo Bay and torture. We are surprised to find that many people we speak to are equally concerned about what is happening in this country in the name of security. They ask us why young people are not taking to the streets as they did with such force in the 60's?
Port Clinton -- JULY 10 2006 -- Camp Perry
to list of cities
Detroit -- JULY 10 2006 -- OTHER Arab Art Collective
Chicago -- JULY 12 2006 -- Mess Hall
Chicago -- JULY 13 2006 -- Hyde Park Art Center
Camp Campaign visits Hyde Park and takes over the speakers corner. Zahra Baker and Carolyn Hoerdemann had brought some students from A + JETS to view the center and the current exhibitions. We engaged with them in a conversation about their understanding of freedom both personal and collective.
A+ JETS are Creative activists discovering today, planning for the future.The Washington group consists of Shantell, David,Rayvin, Araceli, Kossie, Michelle, Rakia, Rodneka, Kenisha, Kaira, Malcolm, Vonshay, Taylor, Lelia, NageeZahra Baker is the lead artist and Carolyn Hoerdemann is the counselor/artist.
click below to listen:
Carbondale -- JULY 15 2006 -- Long Branch Coffeehouse + Camp in Southern Illinois
After our time in Chicago, we continued down to Southern Illinois. We were invited there by Nicholas Brown and Sarah Kanouse, who kindly hosted us and organized a discussion with a diverse group of concerned individuals at a local coffeehouse.
Nick and Sarah are both artists and researchers living/working in Southern Illinois. Together we also explored various manifestations of "camp" within the region. Part of our focus in driving through central and southern Illinois was the "trail of death" and "the trail of tears." We found temporary camps for migrant workers along the highway. We also learned about and visited the " sundown town" of Anna and the majority African-American town of Cairo.
New Orleans -- JULY 19 2006 -- Encounter with David
David is a long time resident of New Orleans who remained in the city during Hurricane Katrina. He offers to meet us at the Joint on Poland Avenue in the Bywater to speak about his experiences and reflect upon the questions which arose for him in that experience. The events unfolding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina have been an interesting development in many respects. One of the developments has been the state's relation to care, to caring or providing security, shelter, refuge for bodies, its "citizens." The convergence of the paradigm of a benevolent and wealthy nation assisting its people in a time of crisis has collapsed into street warfare. Anarchic and abandoned camps, the show of deadly force, temporary jails at bus stations, curfews, paid mercenaries protecting the wealthy, forced evacuations, in short, a state of exception. If there ever was a recent event in which our critical terminology was put into play [i.e., state of exception, the camp, biopolitics] one would have to confront New Orleans. Moreover, if ever there was a project for revolution or the potential for a dignified and relentless revolt ... how was this potential quelled, snuffed, muffled? What is the relation of the state to its people? When did the people turn into populations? And what does this change in terminology signify? What happens when the state, which is meant to be the bearer and caretaker of bare life show itself incapable?
New Orleans -- JULY 20 2006 -- Common Ground and the Lower 9th Ward
After staying along the Mississippi in Vicksburg for one night. We arrived in New Orleans to talk to look at the organization of the city after Katrina and to speak with local organizers and activists. In the Lower 9th Ward, we were able to visit one of the headquarters of Common Ground. Common Ground is a self-organized community intitiated response to Hurricane Katrina. What started as a relief effort for victims of the hurricane organized by residents and activists has become one of the strongest voices and advocates for the communities who have been most hardly hit by the hurricane and subsequently by the failures of the city, state, and FEMA. We were able to meet at Flora (a cafe that was one of the initial meeting spaces for residents and activists) with Michelle Shin. We were able to have a discussion about Common Ground and what is happening currently in New Orleans. Below is a link to our discussion.
-- JULY 24 2006 -- Discussion with residents of Chrystal City
We started the day in a cafe across the street from the motel. Initially, no one believes there was once a camp here for Japanese, Italians, and Germans during WWII. Suddenly she appears, she was a child then, she knows exactly where it was, she gives us directions. We arrive at a small plaque. Stumble into a primary school for some water, a phone call, minutes later, the director arranges a meeting, Richard G. Santos, local historian and organizer of a recent reunion with families and individuals who were interned at this camp. He tells about its history and walks us around the site ending up near the remnants of a swimming pool. Is there a way to view our current problems, an unending war, loss of civil liberties, the reality of internment camps and secret prisons, ... without seeing them as mere repetitions of a previous history? What if anything is new here? What is new or different in our contemporary iteration of the camp? Can we imagine a resistance to these forces that does not rely on fear? Has the diagram of the camp found its way into the fabric of everyday life? We finish the day with a visit to Amistad in search of a boot camp for youth who have confronted problems with the law.
Marfa -- JULY 25 2006 -- Guantanamo Bay in Marfa Texas?
We meet Tom Michael and organize a conversation with him about our campaign and introduce some of our questions for his listeners. Much to our surprise, because his partner is an artist, he is familiar with some of our work and the New York context.
El Paso / Juarez -- JULY 26 2006 -- Crossing over to Mexico
What is the function of this border? What is the relation of a gated community, a ghetto, and a camp? We cross into Juarez and we speak with a former undocumented worker living in Chicago and Milwaukee, father of two, his partner a US citizen, convicted of a crime he did not commit, wrong place - wrong time, recently deported, now its just a series of phone calls, letters, hoping to see his kids, trying to make a life on the other side, selling drinks and food on a street stand, near a park, sound of children playing, ... Is it here that we might begin to detect where the discursive, legal and spacial practices associated with the camp intersect with the economic program of neoliberalism? Is this where we might find the clues to the emergence of a new forms of xenophobia or fascism?
New Mexico -- JULY 26 2006 -- Who is a Prisoner of War?
We are in a diner, in the middle of the west, like the films, open land, open sky, all sky, all caught in a rhapsody, a criminal act, a wish, to speak. We note a man wearing a bandana, with the famous American POW insignia and we have a wish to speak to him. Outback, as we are leaving, he is preparing to ride away in his motorcycle, a Harley, no doubt, leather jacket, he is beaten and resilient. We ask. Guantanamo Bay. He is angry. No connection, that's different son. You ever been to Iraq, fought in Vietnam? Then you don't know nothing. But you were held in Vietnam, so wouldn't you of all people understand a prisoner of war? No, the one's they got in GITMO, are not like our boys, I'd say, they're bein treated too well. If it was up to me, I'd kill'em all, and let God decide when all is said and done! For the next 60 minutes of driving it is unclear whether he is following us, or he is following us, into an uncertain horizon, clouds gathering, wipers no longer working.
White Sands -- JULY 26 2006 -- Fear Has a History Here
We take a minute to overlook the great valley and share a moment of respite, witholding the shock that this site was used for the first test of an atomic weapon, giving birth to the Atomic Age. Fear has a history here because it was working so silently the machine escaped one's attention.
Mescalero Reservation -- JULY 27 2006 -- Meeting Constance
We enter the Mescalero reservation. The weather is cooler and we are interested in finding out more about the tribe. We meet Constance and she is uneasy about being recorded but open to a conversation. We explain our 'campaign' and she begins to speak about her family's history. Father was sent to Fort Sills ... grandmother was shipped by train to Florida to learn ... to learn what? I saw a photo of my father years ago wearing women's clothes. They also cut his hair... since ideas about manhood... What is a reservation? What is the relation between a reservation and a camp?
Somewhere Outside Santa Fe -- JULY 29 2006 -- Interview with Alden Naranjo and Archie Hoffman
We meet with Alden (a Southern Ute) and Archie (Cheyenne-Arapaho) after an all night meeting. Here we inquire about the notion of a form-of-life, a way of life of the native americans who occupied this land before they were forcibly removed, transfered, or killed. Here we learn of a history of camp that goes much further back. Here we learn that bare life and political life, cultural life, spiritual life, the life around us, are intrinsically connected and it is the modern nation-state, which has acted as a rupture between them.
Santa Fe -- JULY 30 2006 -- Outdoor Craft Fair Intervention
We see an outdoor craft and art fair and see a local S.W.A.T. team showing their latest technology to impress the children and their parents. We decide to improvise our own stand or booth. We scribble our texts of protest to the camps in Guantanamo with chalk on the pavement and organize our campaign pins and stickers for passersby. At first children become interested in our pins and then subsequently, we begin to engage with their parents about our concerns, which opens us up to discussions about contemporary US politics and the challenges of exiting the mediatized spectacle of political discourse.
Denver -- JULY 31 2006 -- Meeting at the Museum of Contemporary Art
We meet with a small group of individuals working or affiliated with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. We attempt to engage in a conversation with them about the impacts of discourses of security and the production of fear on cultural production. Afterward we join a group of activists who have organized a large meeting to discuss the July War and over 1000 civilians killed in the Israeli bombing campaign over Lebanon.
Shoshone National Forest -- AUGUST 2 2006 -- Close Guantanamo Bay, a cry of bewilderment
On August 2nd 2006, we ascended the mountains of Shoshone Forest to find a quiet still lake with only the tapping sound of fishing lines, the whistles and squaks of birds, and the distant cry of wolves. After nearly an hour of silence one of us utters a cry of bewilderment, demanding the closure of Guantanamo Bay. The echo of a voice resonates through the hilltops and slowly the stillness returns.
Seattle -- AUGUST 6 2006 -- Open Mic in Downtown Seattle
We have tried to take out our speaker and microphone in other occasions on this trip. But this is the first time that we begin to get people from the street to take up the microphone and speak up against what is happening in the United States. Outraged citizens begin to take up their concerns and people begin to inquire if the whole event has been staged. Someone approaches us to request that we video tape the intervention, since she thinks it is a very unique situation. We have decided in advance of the intervention to only take some preliminary pictures, so that we do not disrupt the movement of the situation.
San Francisco -- AUGUST 8 2006 -- Event at Temescal Amity Works
" For over a month, artists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri have been traveling to different cities and camp sites across the country holding public discussions, conducting interviews, filming, and documenting in places such as interment camps, detentions camps, relief camps, and other camping areas. This is part of their Camp Campaign, a cross-country drive that begins, at New York City, with the question, "How is it that a camp like Guantanamo Bay can exist in our time?" On Thursday, Camp Campaign arrives to San Francisco's Bay Area. Join artists Ayreen and Rene in a discussion at the Temescal Amity Works, co-organized with Trevor Paglen. As part of this program, the artists will show videos of two cities, East Baltimore and Lydd. Through the narration of a resident/local organizer, each video outlines how planning is used to dispossess targeted communities and groups from their property, rights, and way of life. Following the screening, the discussion will center on the difficult task of connecting these situations to one another and to those faced by the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. In the past, one possible link was posited: the relation of abandonment each of these groups may have with respect to the law."
Los Angeles -- AUGUST 14 2006 -- Sandpaper Books Talk and the City of Tents
"...Guantanamo Bay is only a more acute or extreme version of what is taking place around us in the name of security. And our campaign attempts to draw out those connections and link them to historical precedents as well as everyday phenomenon ." We organize a fine presentation, screening and discussion on a Monday evening in Eagle Rock. It is a very interesting event with many people engaged in thinking about the implications of our work and research on the level of lived experience in Los Angeles. Later that evening we take our last trip through downtown LA - a tent city, hundreds strewn along the sidewalks just south of the large banks and office towers. Here is an improvised camp comprised of the city's outcasts, derelicts, mentally ill, drug addicts, poor, homeless, abandoned, and exiles. Here camp is a signifier for where bare life resides, here camp is a testimony for the failures, the cracks and gaps of economic and social policies, here camp is the last stop, the final frontier in the continual reinsrciption and rearticulation of the assumed border which separates man from all other living things. Here camp presages an abandonment that awaits anyone who is too weak, unable, or unwilling to play.