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Jelle interviews Kamali

What are you making?

A Focal Camera. I'm making a spy camera, so a camera that doesn't seem like a camera at first. It has corrolation with my fascination for live webcam feeds because that's also a spy camera. I was working with found footage but I'd like to make new work. Maybe combine found footage with new work.

Why are you making it?

To get authorship over my work. So to not just use images but to adjust or make them my own.

Does it relate to other things you have done?

It does. It's a next step in my research. It's still (more or less) in the same range of the topics I'm interested in; which are privacy & voyeurism. My role as an artist is looking.

How is it different to other things you have done?

It is different from my projects because I'm producing a tool that can capture images over which I have artistic authority. So instead of just taking an existing (moving) image, I create one myself. What's also different is that is not about my roots; my family or Curacao.

What are the most significant choices have you made recently?

I decided to choose another subject and another medium. I decided to stop using found footage and webcam feeds for now. Throughout this exchange b takes notes on the pad

[Steve's extra question: please tell me more about fascination for live webcam feeds; describe your work with that... It is also interesting that you use a very traditional technology for surveillance, which is a very contemporary application. this interview also raises the question: what did you make before?


I'm making a focal camera, a spy camera. A camera that doesn't seem like a camera at first. Lately I've been fascinated about live webcams, which in essence are contemporary spy cameras. My previous work was a short film I made out of live webcam footage from Curacao. The text that is included in the film are emails that my grandmother sent to me. My family lives in Curacao, a lot of my work revolves around this. Ultimately I'm captivated by the feeling of being somewhere while not being there.

I want to get back a certain authorship over my work. I'm not afraid of taking footage from websites in a legal sense. It's rather that I've come to the realization that there's a bit of a trap in using found footage. Once you start using it you're very likely to just keep searching for more, getting stuck in a search for something you're not sure about what it even is you're searching for. By making this camera, I'm challenging myself to make images again and really think about them.

This will be a next step in my research. I'm intersted in voyeurism. Looking has had a very important role in my previous works. For example, some important scenes in my graduation film are of me looking at my mobile phone.

Although I have created images before, it has been a while. I've been really sucked into my family archive and live webcam footage when looking for images. My approach with this project/camera is quite different because it derives from my fascination about the live webcam rather than my fascination about distance and what this means for my family and me.

A significant choice I've recently made is thus switching from medium and my main subject.