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Graves & Herrera-Prats / Camel Collective
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Sunset Park



ARTIST STATEMENT: Camel Collective is the name under which Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked since 2005. The group works through a collaborative process that employs aspects of archival research, dramaturgy, printmaking, painting and photography, focusing on the topics of labor, pedagogy, theater, and collectivity.

Camel’s exhibitions and performances include The Second World Congress of Free Artists at Casa del Lago, Mexico City (2013), Una Obra Para Dos Pinturas at the Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan (2012), A Facility Based on Change at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, MassMoCA (2011), and Howls for Bologna at Overgaden Institut for Samtidskunst (2010). Camel has also exhibited at Artist’s Space, Art in General, Exit Art, and the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City.

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Something Other Than What You Are is a multi-channel video that focuses on the hidden labor of theater. It is also a story about the production of light and the physiological cause-effect dynamics between light and affect. Shot at the REDCAT theater, the video is organized over six channels. A series of fictional lighting technicians, designers, and a professor played by one actress are subject to the uncertainties of the theatrical apparatus, planned obsolescence, and the precariousness of freelance work. The production of visibility onstage is in this instance mediated by the presence of a camera. The moving image is treated in all of its constituent parts—light seeps from an image, a highlight drifts from its object revealing the composite structure of the digital image. The narrative takes place at a remove from live performance and the audience–actor exchange. Something Other is not theater about theater, but about watching the production of visibility and invisibility of a subject in the “creative economy.” The work gestures towards its own production and addresses the dynamics of the various apparatuses involved: theater, projected video, gallery installation. The narrative unfolds across a multi-channel video installation, with sculptural elements, and a series of abstracted graphic notations that serve as a visual score for the production as a whole. The works are intended to create an affective core sample of a social field, and illuminate the fleeting image of late capitalism in all of its masks, layers, channels, and hidden objects.


“Opening Address” is a video by Camel Collective. Shot among the residential buildings in Ørestad City south of Copenhagen. "Opening Address" presents four figures dwarfed by then largely empty housing developments — signature pieces of architecture and the grandchildren of Bauhaus design. Four voices read from Camel Collective's "Opening Address to the Second World Congresses of Free Artists," a text that questions the “educational turn in art” and its emancipatory horizons, the roles artists play as creative labor, and our own relation to contemporaneous anti-austerity protests by students. The script appropriates structural elements from Straub-Huillet's film, "Toute la Revolucion" (visible on the right channel), and a speech by Asger Jorn (International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus) delivered in 1956 to the First Congress of Free Artists in Alba, Italy, that was critical of the artistic pedagogy of the day.


 








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