Sam Smith is a video and installation artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. At once an artistic critique of cinema and an exposure of the technology behind video imagery, Smith’s practice integrates sculptural form and moving image. He is interested in the capacity of film and video installation to distort our sense of time and space through the manipulation of filmic narratives.
Frame, Lens (2012), a two-channel moving image work, interrogates the temporal and spatial possibilities of two cameras in one location: the relationship of lens to frame to action. Shot simultaneously on a 16mm film camera from 1975 and a contemporary digital cinema camera, the actions of the director and the movements of the apparatus explore the physical space of a room. The two cameras act as both capture device and subject matter, their age, mechanics, optics and recording media delivering a unique perspective to each channel. The room within the film becomes a space to explore cinematic language reduced to its most basic, that of composition and montage. The director operates the action from within the frame, while controlling the tension between the camera-object and the camera-angle.
In Cameraman (2011), shot on location in Berlin, Smith presents a sequence of events that take place between a film set, a cameraman’s apartment and an artist’s studio in a fractured two-channel narrative. One channel of the video conveys the action of the film set and its protagonists; the other interweaves the perspective of the film being shot — the ‘film within the film’. For the viewer, the experience is one of traversing the realities of multiple screen-worlds, and registering the slippages between them.
Representing a continued investigation into the apparatus of cinema as a sculptural form, Objects and Slides (2011) is a suite of cast sculptures and a slide carousel projection. The works are an extension of the studio practice featured in Cameraman, bringing the objects out from the screen and into the gallery space. In playing with a three-dimensional idea of cinema, the image of the camera lens is manipulated through the casting process. Also part of Objects and Slides is an 80-image photographic sequence titled Time-lapse (2011) depicting Cameraman’s central sculpture looping through various states of degradation.