With C_M_L we must start with our moniker, Camel. We had already been marked by the name of that long-necked gloomy ungulate in 2005—after Sarina Basta’s eponymous pack of cigarettes—and had realized a number of projects under that name with the help of Benj Gerdes, Graham Parker, Michael Baers, and Jacqueline Miro-Abreu. Over that time we thinned in rank to a number that began to look like the custodians of an online archive.
C_M_L is a word subtracted to the ideogrammatic semblance of a camel in three parts. Left to right: a rounded posterior, the twin humps of the M, the neck of the L facing off towards the end of a sentence.
Ah, so, what is Camel you ask? First off, it is a struggle against the problem of consensus among a disparate assortment of individuals working to produce a living archive of art and social activism. The function of the archive is to document the material practices, processes and tactics of those who labor against the instrumentalization of social relations, and the separation of individuals from the collective processes of social and political participation.
We proceed by inviting artists and groups to present documents of their practices with emphasis on working materials, processes, and other ephemera. Through conversations with participants, we work with them to develop a language around the materials: footnotes, anecdotes, stories, and other excursions. The goal of this activity is to share methodologies of praxis. As a result, each project is an ongoing process.
01/12/2009 The Camel collective began as a loose affiliation of artists, architects, and writers in the Spring of 2005. The U.S. invasion of Iraq, the dominant media’s tacit support for an illegitimate administration, and the hysterical real estate speculation in New York City motivated us to consider how we might orient our individual practices towards collective organization. Our belief in the productive force of collectivity and exchange across disciplines, along with the necessity to address social, political and economic issues as artists is what motivates our activities. C-M-L is an ongoing online project of Camel Collective. We invite similarly engaged artists to submit works and documents to build an archive available online and distributed in the form of a newsletter. This newsletter includes two main sections—a growing archive of projects selected by the editors, and a bimonthly guest curatorial examination thereof. C-M-L also extends an open invitation for project submissions. Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We intend C-M-L to be a forum that circulates projects—produced for other spaces and translated into web-based documentation—among artists, curators, political organizers, and whoever else might happen by. We enjoy works that refuse the division between the aesthetic and the political, and insist that just as any political practice has an aesthetic dimension, any aesthetic practice has political consequences. Subscription is free. We extend our warm regards. Sincerely, Anthony Graves