Sam Smith, 2018

Photo: Production still Sam Smith, 2018

Spaced 3 residency: North by Southeast

Through my time at Baltic Art Center, I gained a sense of Gotland as a living force: an active entity, but one that’s being deconstructed. Millions of years ago, sediments that circulated at the equator constructed the reef mass that became the island. Those raw materials are now being radically dispersed.

As part of Australian International Art Space’s two-year residency and exchange programme, spaced 3: north by southeast, artist Sam Smith came to Gotland in spring 2017 for a five-week research period. He returned a year later, in spring 2018, to produce a new work that will be shown at the Gotland Art Museum during November 17, 2018 until April 21, 2019.

The artist travelled around the island of Gotland to meet with key people and specialists like Tom Mels, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Economic Geography Uppsala University, Dr. Gustaf Svedjemo, lecturer at the department of Archaeology and Ancient History Uppsala University and local fossile expert Sara Eliason at the Gotland Museum. One year Sam Smith returned to shoot a film at locations like Brucebo, Suderbys Ekoby, Uppsala University Campus Gotland, the archive of the Museum of Gotland and the Cementa lime stone quarry. The work resulted in the experimental documentary Lithic Choreographies, that mixes historical facts with speculative fiction to chronicle different chapters embedded to the island’s geological strata.

Scanning the landscape characterised by paleo-sea-stacks, fossil coastlines, concrete production plants and limestone quarries, the film focuses a lens on minerals circulated in economic, cultural and agricultural contexts. Working with locals to ground the film’s investigations within the myriad communities of Gotland, Sam Smith seeks to re-imagine our modes of engagement with and contributions to ecological assemblages.

Sam Smith is a video installation and performance artist born in Sydney, Australia (1980), currently living and working in the UK. By treating built forms as active things, Smith gives resonance to the histories within their material structures. The locations of past films and 20th century Modernist residences become vibrant entities, capable of reorganising matter, facilitating life and playing a crucial part in their own narrative.

Sam Smith’s

work has been shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London, Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra, Portugal, the Australian Centre for Moving Image, Melbourne and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. The monograph Sam Smith: Frames of Reference, featuring texts from Jan Verwoert and Post Brothers, was published by Broken Dimanche Press and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in 2014.