John Smith’s films work from the question of how real reality truly is to illuminate conditions and mechanisms for the construction of meaning and reveal common narrative structures. The narrator is usually the filmmaker himself, and many of his works focus on phenomena that occur in his immediate surroundings. Smith addresses the relationship between image and sound as well as ideas associated with what the senses perceive. Reflection, inversion, and overlay are also parts of his repertoire, as are wordplay, inflection, and cadence. His films are concise and amusing, but go beyond pure entertainment. Often, they deal with urban transformation, and the physical separation and suppression of layers of society. Again and again, a clear attempt is made to question authorship, authority, habit, and tradition. By engaging and challenging different viewer perspectives, he draws attention to our entanglement in societal and political context.
On occasion of the cinematic homage to the British filmmaker at DOK Leipzig, the GfZK shows an exhibition featuring six films of John Smith that address questions related to documentation – abstraction, authenticity and manipulation.