Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri’s newest project, Camp Campaign, consisted of a nation-wide campaign beginning, in New York City, with the question, “How is it that a camp like Guantanamo Bay can exist in our time?”
During the months of July and August 2006, Ayreen and Rene visited detention camps, internment camps, camping sites, and relief camps, among other types of camps in the USA. During their travel, they filmed and photographed these places, as well as the roads in-between, creating a collection of images that together show a political landscape of this country. They camped in the rural outdoors, and in metropolitan areas they camped at homes. In towns, they parked their van, which also functioned as a studio, and set-up a tent, where their campaign materials, buttons, stickers and the like were distributed. They gathered with camp people, lawyers, theorists, artists and activists. Sometimes they conducted interviews; other times, they discussed different manifestations of states of exception (government’s suspension of the rule of law).
Aside from these engagements, the artists created www.campcampaign.info, a website that they updated regularly during their travel. Including their writing, an anthology of reference texts, and journalistic accounts accompanied with images or podcasts of their activities, this website does more than set the campaign’s ideals and political platform. It also becomes a site where the artists openly question the project’s form, beginning from its naming, that of a campaign, and on to its efficacy.