Country: United Arab Emirates, India, Yemen, Somalia, Qatar, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, Kenya, Iraq, Iran
Direction: CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran)
In the words of Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumara, who work together as CAMP, “A boat has many powers: to gather a society in its making, to distribute goods, to carry people and ideas across places that, it seems to us, are more different than ever before.” In this project of collective documentation, merchant sailors from the Gulf of Kutch in India travel across the Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf and beyond, transporting all manner of goods. Working with footage collected over a four-year period, CAMP weave together their own HD video with images made by the sailors using mobile phone cameras and camcorders. These heterogeneous textures—from crisp clarity to painterly pixilation—combine with Bollywood and religious songs chosen by the sailors to form a compilation film displaying at once a palpable intimacy and a grand scope, forming a testimony to the maritime proletariat infused with joy, friendship, sociality and optimism. This “film based on actual events and videos of actual events,” as an opening title describes it, offers a striking reminder that though our global system is so often described as “cognitive capitalism”—trafficking in information and fuelled by immaterial labour—it still rests on the physical work of real bodies who fabricate and transport real goods.