two channel digital video, color, sound
Karl Ingar Røys’ Caminata Nocturna documents both the flight and pursuit of illegal economic migrants across the Mexico-U.S border. Or at least that’s what it initially appears to document. In actuality, the video depicts a facsimile of such events, a tourist sideshow put on by the inhabitants of the town of Alberto 2000 kilometers from the border. This adventure holiday allows mainly Mexican tourists to experience and enjoy-since tourism is always about an attempt at happiness- something like an illegal border crossing into the United States. (..)
However, Caminata Nocturna doesn’t just attempt to offer a simple representation. The video re-presents the tourist trek as ambiguously real and it’s only towards the end that doubts as to its veracity as an actual case of chase and capture begin to surface. In this way Røys cuts up the night that economic migration and state control constitute and constructs out of it a fictional topography. In this Caminata Nocturna works as a map or diagram that folds back into itself an outside composed of both the capitalist image-world and vital, all too real, questions of political sovereignty, economic exploitation and subjectivity. In as much as the video is about the trials of economic migration within global capitalism-labour necessarily following the flows of capital at the risk of severe penalties-it is also about the very dissimulation into experiential facsimile and images played out in Caminata Nocturna. The elements of this topography can be mapped point by point as a disruption of what Ranciere has termed the ‘distribution of the sensible’, the way that the world and people are divided up by a ‘police order’ that allocates, includes and excludes according to class, race, gender, etc. ‘Police’ in this sense should be understood as not just the immediately repressive apparatus that bears that name but discourses, ways of acting and forms of structuring perception that ensure certain parts of the social order are visible or invisible. The map that Caminata Nocturna traces is centered upon the dual facing screens with the spectator in the border between them. This border is the central horizontal axis upon the map the video forms. The division of the screens is redolent of the US-Mexico border, much of which is bisected by a fence that at certain crossing points is composed of doubled and tripled metal walls, surveillance cameras and ground sensors. But, just as the border itself remains permeable, the fortified sections giving way to stretches of barbed wire or the desolate expanse of the desert, the screens division is less a sign of the distinctness of subjects, experience and phenomena within the contemporary capitalist spectacle than of their crossing over or threshold quality.
Text excerpts from John Cunningham
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Camera: Ruben Jeronimo & Karl Ingar Røys