[Reader-list] [Invitation] The X-Ray Files, a video lecture by CAMP on June 10, 2014. 7:30pm onwards

Shaina A kalakamra at gmail.com
Sat Jun 7 05:07:41 CDT 2014

Dear all,

Please do us on CAMP's rooftop on tuesday evening for a journey down some
recent and alive archival threads.

*The X-Ray Files *
(From Stings to Leaks to Citizen Vigilantes)

CAMP Roof <http://camputer.org/campstudio.html>,
Tuesday June 10th, 2014
7:30 - 10 pm
(food and refreshments will be available)


*______ *

*The X-Ray Files *
(From Stings to Leaks to Citizen Vigilantes)

As the story goes, villagers in Jaunpur, or women labourers in Bangalore
(depending on if you want to believe Tejpal
<http://www.india-seminar.com/2001/502/502%20tarun%20tejpal.htm> or Bahal
on this) responded to early sting operations by invoking an image of
tehelka dot com as an x-ray machine located in Delhi that would expose
everyone’s corruption as soon as they came in front of it. This apocryphal
story became a kind of intuitive peg for conceptual connections between
hidden cameras and transparency in governance and intentions.

But all metaphors have their limits. X-rays don’t usually tell you if their
subject is even alive or not. People (we will see) are being slapped and
pinched even while under “truth serum”. Truth in other words, is extracted
or built by a combination of means. The “transparency” produced by early
hidden camera recordings relied on elaborate mis-en-scene or “setting”:
fictional scripts, unreliable narrators, great performances and hungry
network audiences. Stings and leaks in India have been largely an
audio-visual medium, framing violence and encounter, far from transparently
or opaquely, as a new skin of documentary experience.

This evening we present a long-format (2 hour 30 minutes) artists’
rendering of a history of images and sounds produced by stings, leaks and
more recent citizen vigilante media, with TV overlays and edit styles
removed or undone. We follow an evolution or descent of these forms from
energetic origins in new media journalism, via proliferating leaks, into an
ordinary in which “every citizen now becomes an anti-corruption inspector”,
in the words of Aam Aadmi Party’s new Chief Minister of Delhi, at the start
of this year.

There is a difference between ideology and the way things actually look.
(It can look worse too). Direction, framing, timing, empathy or lack of it,
and again mis-en-scene, count in the difference. Video in this form *is* a
crafted relation between selves and others, a test of ethics far beyond the
law, and a precedent for what distributed technologies can do. Video's own
protocols are far from settled, and it cruises the edges of "the
networks". There
are a lot of questions here about what a democracy or community of images
might look like. For while the selfie says radically, “I represent myself”,
the easier wrist position, or higher Mp camera, still points outward.

(Part of this material was presented recently as a two-hour video lecture
at the 3rd Berlin Documentary Forum, HKW, Berlin.)


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