Camp Campaign

'How is it that a camp like Guantanamo Bay can exist in our time?,' ask artists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri in their latest project, Camp Campaign, commissioned by New York's Art in General. Last summer Anastas and Gabri visited detention camps and other types of camps in the USA, meeting with fellow artists, scholars, and activists. They recorded these field trips, generating a set of documents examining the country's political landscape. They were particularly interested in the different manifestations of 'states of exception,' as in the case of the government's suspension of federal law in the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay camp. The artists built the website to expand upon their project by regularly posting journalistic accounts of their activities and reference essays on the topic. Currently on view at Art in General, the Camp Campaign exhibition represents the culmination of this work. Anastas and Gabri have created an installation that masquerades as one made by two fictional artists, complete with a program for the gallery, formatted like a Hollywood movie script. This treatment brings a level of surrealism to the contemplation of what feels like an implausible political context. In this way, the show is not merely an archival display of their journey, but a step forward into their inquiry of governing principles created in the name of security. - Miguel Amado