Stil from 16 mm silent film, TourcoingFrance, 2003.
a performative film installation, 16 mm
Gregg Smith builds up his works on the consciousness of our presence in a given space-time continuum. His main interest is what keeps us from acting and sometimes what pushes us to action. Smiths' videos, films and performances place themselves in this tension and simultaneously build upon it. The Tourist is a 2- part film that will be presented in the show, projected in two separate places, and installed on an s-shaped “soft street” that the viewer traverses.
In the first part Smith places the main actor (himself) in alien surroundings. The film is silent and this situation of the tourist in a crowded street asks for interpretation, a definition. An energetic scene unfolds: A resident beggar asks the tourist for money and quickly other persons are involved. Some try to help him or protect him, others pull the foreigner and support the beggar, and finally they show more interest in themselves than in the foreigner amongst them.
In the second projection we see the same tourist in a different and much quieter public space where the drama shifts to a more personal dimension. Here light is cast upon the inner struggle, the dilemma between civil courage and avoidance of the conflict.
The tourist, a young man, sits at a table outside in front of a café. He smokes and drinks. A young woman takes a seat next to him and does the same. The tension builds between them, as attraction is evident but frustrated. Time passes. The woman pays for her wine and leaves the place, so does the man in the opposite direction.
In the exhibition we move along an s-shaped silk “wall”, a material that evokes soft and tender feelings, mediates sensitivity. The walls receive the projections of the two films and apart from that they register the subtle shift of air as the viewer moves throughout the space. In this delicate and silent space the artist seeks to play with the self-awareness and the tendency for projection on the part of the spectator. Smith softly brings expression to the unbridgeable gap between human and cultural sphere.
In his apparently profane images Smith lends space to the discrepancy of sensation and rational consideration. He plays with the concept of alienation, alienation from one self and from others. The conflict between the desire to enlarge one's self and one's involvement in the world, and one's fear of letting go of safety and the familiarity of the past.
catalogue notes by Harm Lux- ...lautloses irren, ways of worldmaking too...
Postbahnhof , Berlin , 2003.