From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf

10 April 2014
Royal Cinema (608 College St)

SAVAC is proud to co-present Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran’s, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, the opening film of this year’s Images Festival. Established in 1987, the Images Festival is the largest festival in North America for experimental and independent moving image culture, showcasing the innovative edge of international contemporary media art both on and off the screen.

Synopsis

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf
CAMP, Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran
India/United Arab Emirates, 2013, VIDEO, 83 min

Shot over four years with a variety of high definition, standard definition and mobile phone cameras by the artists and numerous sailors from India, Pakistan and Southern Iran, From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, provides an unmediated view of the experience of merchant seamen who traverse the Arabian Sea from the Gulf of Kutch in Western India to Pakistan to the coast of Somalia and the Persian Gulf. A project of the inimitable CAMP collective, the film is the result of a commission by the Sharjah Biennial that allowed the artists to undertake extensive research into trade and transport in the region over several years.

As part of the project, CAMP provided sailors with cell phone cameras to record their travels. The accumulated images and sounds (and the music the sailors selected to accompany them) allow us not only a remarkable window into the world of these workers, but perhaps more importantly we are shown what they themselves have chosen to document.

The result is a mixture of the intimate and the epic, as we observe the sailors at work, play and in repose. We are shown the construction of the wooden vessels called dhows that look impressive on land, but appear to be extremely vulnerable when loaded down with cargo on the high seas. From livestock to motor vehicles, charcoal to beauty products, electronics to used clothing, bathtubs, beans and batteries, the litany of goods on each dhow can be diverse or uniform depending on the ports it will visit over its months at sea. The sailors film the loading and unloading of goods, storms and calm seas, dolphins, dancing and other passing ships. The editor/directors note locations and the names of the vessels, but for the most part they allow the images supplied by their cellphone-cinematographers to tell their own stories, placing the episodes in a compelling arrangement that keeps us engaged and in awe of these intrepid seafarers and the world they inhabit.

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