OCTOBER 20
Close-Up Film Centre

        (tickets)
                closeupfilmcentre.com










































                (previous event)
Programme 3 (1978-84)
With JOHN SMITH and JULIET JACQUES live in conversation


Double Shutter (1978 / 2018, 7m. SD video from 16mm)
As a reassemblage of two excerpts from Blue Bathrooom (1978), Double Shutter is a distillation of ideas concerning the tension between representation and materiality. An apparently straightforward representational image is gradually revealed to be an artifice, foregrounding the filmmaking process as subject matter. By superimposing and alternating identical framings of three windows filmed by day and by night the film uses their positive/negative qualities to construct and break down representational images and sounds.

7P (1978, 8m. SD video from 16m)
7P is constructed around the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, juxtaposing similar picture and sound fragments recorded on consecutive days over the Christmas period. When the seemingly predictable structure starts falling apart, nonsensical combinations of word and image begin to acquire their own unfathomable meanings.

Celestial Navigation (1980, 10m. 16mm [magnetic sound])
“Celestial Navigation could be seen to work in the tradition of British landscape film in that it incorporates a ‘natural’ element (the Earth’s rotation) into the structure of the film. Filmed in the course of one day on a beach, the film uses pan and tilt movements to follow the shadow of a spade and retain its vertical position in the frame… Many peripheral elements come into the film, adding humour to an otherwise near scientific exercise. The tide comes in, a sandcastle is built and washed away, a cyclist crosses the scene, which all works to incorporate human presence without denying the original strategy.”
    - Michael Maziere

Light Sleep (1981, 6m. 16mm)
An experiment in temporal layering involving the parallel development of sound and picture. Shots of the same scenes were superimposed on each other in camera over a number of hours, up to a maximum of about a hundred superimpositions.

Shepherd's Delight (an ananalysis of humour) (1980-4, 35m. HD video from 16mm)
Shepherd’s Delight confronts the problem of humour head-on, referring directly (since a large part of the film is composed of jokes and their analysis) to the viewer’s perception of the film itself. The film is largely concerned with how context determines the reading of information. Since the film’s statements oscillate between the deadly serious (concentrating particularly on an examination of the more sinister aspects of humour) and the totally bogus, with no clearly defined points of changeover, the context is often ambiguous. This strategy undermines both the authority of the ‘serious’ statements and any predictable effect of the ‘jokes’.    
"Shepherd’s Delight turned on the very humour for which Smith is noted, revealing the dark as well as the light side of jokes. Doubt, scepticism and a sense of the arbitrary all pointed to deeper patterns in his films.  The opposition of illusionism and materiality, the key motif of the post-war avant-garde cinema, is used here and elsewhere in his work to underpin subtle questioning and undercutting of the authority of the word."
    - A L Rees

TRT 66 mins

Mark





In celebration of John Smith’s 50 years of filmmaking, purge.xxx presents the most extensive survey of his work to date: screening 50 films by Smith, organised into 10 weekly programmes, every Thursday from October to December at 8pm, at Close-Up Film Centre and Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London.

Smith’s INTROSPECTIVE launches with a special, one-off music-focussed programme at the ICA (Saturday 1 October at 6:30pm) marking the vinyl release of BLIGHT, the soundtrack from Smith’s film with music by Jocelyn Pook. Smith and Pook will be present and in conversation, with rarely seen films including commissions for Charles Hayward and Echo & the Bunnymen screening on the night.

The weekly programmes are arranged chronologically, combining rarely screened works with well-known favourites.

For tickets please book events individually*, using the links listed along with the events.




JOHN SMITH: INTROSPECTIVE (1972–2022) is organised by Stanley Schtinter. For more information and to book tickets for events visit closeupfilmcentre.com and ica.art. For more information and to buy the Blight soundtrack visit purge.xxx. For Smith’s work: johnsmithfilms.com. To order a copy of the printed programme, *enquire about season passes, or for anything else: info (at) purge (dot) xxx




Mark