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Sam Smith

b. 1980
New South Wales

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. 

Birth place
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Period of activity 
from 2002
Other solo exhibitions 

Cameraman, Momentum, Berlin, Germany; Objects and Slides, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Cameraman, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Into The Void, 24HR Art Monitor Program, Northern Territory Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, Australia, 2011. 

Permutation Set, Artspace, Sydney, 2010.

Special Effects, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney; Into The Void, Trove, Birmingham, UK, 2009.

Slimer, Chalk Horse, Sydney; Scale Set, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney, 2007.

Passage, Raw Space, Brisbane, Australia, 2006.

Tokyo Exercises Suite, Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan; Black Lab, Brisbane, 2005.

Set Piece, Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney, 2004. 

Other group exhibitions 

Conversations from here, 3+1 Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon, Portugal; Motion/Pictures, Gallery A.S. at the former Paramount Pictures Building, Sydney, Australia; Awfully Wonderful: Science Fiction in Contemporary Art, Performance Space, Sydney, 2011.

Come Hither Noise, Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, Australia, 2009. 

Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; Looking Out, Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney, 2008.

Between you and me, Firstdraft, Sydney; Keep Going, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Gymea, Sydney; The Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship 2007, Artspace, Sydney; Projector: A screening of video works by Australian artists, Broadstone Gallery and Studios, Dublin, Ireland; Fremantle Arts Center, Fremantle, 2007.

Video Easy, Chiang Mai University Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand; The Hart Center For Arts, Beijing, China, 2006. 

“Sam Smith: Across the Universe(s)”, interview with Dougal Phillips, Runway Issue 9: Change.

“Sam Smith: Artefacts From The Event Horizon”, catalogue, Grantpirrie, Sydney, Australia; “Signal To Noise”, The Art Life, 2007.

“1/2 Doz”, catalogue, Firstdraft, Sydney, 2006. 

Camerman, Trailer – from Cameraman, via Vimeo 
Into the Void, – from Into the Void, via Vimeo 
Permutation Set, Installation Excerpt – from Permutation Set, via Vimeo 
Video Camera [HDW-F900/3] (2007), – from Video Camera [HDW-F900/3], via Vimeo 
Time Travel (2009) Installation, – from Time Travel, via Vimeo 
Control Structure (2008) Installation, – from Control Structure, via Vimeo 
Street Shift (2007) Excerpt, – from Street Shift, via Vimeo 
Passage (2006), – from Passage, via Vimeo 
Slimer (2007) Installation, – from Slimer, via Vimeo 
Tokyo Exercises Suite (2005), – from Tokyo Exercises Suite, via Vimeo