"A Camp": Dastan's Basement

13 - 27 October 2017 The Basement

An installation of various artwoks by Manijeh Akhavan, Sadra Bani-Asadi, Serminaz Barseghian, Aylar Dastgiri, and Sam Samiee

Installation Views
Press release

Dastan is pleased to announce “A Camp” at Dastan’s Basement. The exhibition, featuring ‘a camp’ of (in alphabetical order) Manijeh Akhavan, Sadra Bani-Asadi, Serminaz Barseghian, Aylar Dastgiri, and Sam Samiee, and curated by Sam Samiee, will be open for public viewing from October 13 through October 27, 2017.

The curator, quotes Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’” (1964) to formulate the project’s overview:

“Camp is the consistently aesthetic experience of the world. It incarnates a victory of "style" over "content," "aesthetics" over "morality," of irony over tragedy.

39. Camp and tragedy are antitheses. There is seriousness in Camp (seriousness in the degree of the artist's involvement) and, often, pathos. The excruciating is also one of the tonalities of Camp; it is the quality of excruciation in much of Henry James (for instance, The Europeans, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove) that is responsible for the large element of Camp in his writings. But there is never, never tragedy.

40. Style is everything. Genet's ideas, for instance, are very Camp. Genet's statement that "the only criterion of an act is its elegance"2 is virtually interchangeable, as a statement, with Wilde's "in matters of great importance, the vital element is not sincerity, but style." But what counts, finally, is the style in which ideas are held. The ideas about morality and politics in, say, Lady Windemere's Fan and in Major Barbara are Camp, but not just because of the nature of the ideas themselves. It is those ideas, held in a special playful way. The Camp ideas in Our Lady of the Flowers are maintained too grimly, and the writing itself is too successfully elevated and serious, for Genet's books to be Camp.”