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John Smith Introspective: Opening + Q&A
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Blight, dir. John Smith, UK 1994-96, 14 min., no dialogue

This special event launches John Smith: Introspective (1972–2022), the most complete survey to date – 50 films from 50 years – of works by one of Britain’s most radical, best-loved and most influential artist filmmakers.

Tonight’s screening features a music-themed programme of Smith’s films, including a rarely seen TV commission for Echo & the Bunnymen. It also celebrates the vinyl LP release of Blight, Jocelyn Pook’s soundtrack for Smith’s film of the same name – and Smith and Pook will be reflecting on their collaboration in conversation following the screening.

The newly remastered score for Blight by Jocelyn Pook, released in a numbered edition of just 200 by purge.xxx, will be available for sale for the first time at this event – with copies signed specially for the occasion by Pook and Smith.

John Smith: Introspective (1972–2022) takes place every Thursday evening from October 6 until December 1 at Close-Up Film Centre (97 Sclater Street, E1 6HR), with events at the ICA on October 1 (with Jocelyn Pook), October 27 (with filmmaker Carol Morley) and December 1 (with musician Jarvis Cocker). For more information, visit johnsmith-introspective.com.

Part of the ICA 75th Anniversary Season


Triangles (1972, 3 min., SD video from 16mm)
Smith’s first 16mm film comprises abstract animation punctuated by found footage, cut to music by The Velvet Underground.

7P (1978, 8 min., SD video from 16m)
7P is constructed around the carol The 12 Days of Christmas, juxtaposing similar picture and sound fragments recorded on consecutive days. When the structure starts falling apart, nonsensical combinations of words and images acquire their own unfathomable meanings.

Shine So Hard (1981, 32 min., HD video from 16mm). Commissioned by Warner Brothers Music.
Shine So Hard matches conventional material of Echo & the Bunnymen with footage that attempts to locate the band in a more abstract context. Smith deliberately, and jokingly, allows the two sections to collide rather than attempting to blend them.’ – Steve Jenkins

Gargantuan (1992, 1 min., HD video from 16mm)
‘A gigantic reptile fills the frame as Smith begins to sing. The manipulative power of script and framing in film and video is sharply yet playfully highlighted in a single shot.’ – Helen Legg

Blight (1994-96, 14 min., HD video from 16mm)
Blight revolves around the building of the M11 Link Road in East London – combining images and sounds of demolition and construction with the words of local residents, and exploiting the ambiguities of its material to create its own metaphorical fictions. Jocelyn Pook’s music aids this invention, investing mundane images with dramatic significance.

Song for Europe (2017, 4 min., HD video)
Inspired by a message for motorists on Eurotunnel trains, Song for Europe is an underwater celebration of Britain’s connection to the mainland.

The Camera, The Actor (2019, 5 min., HD video)
A homage to cinema made to accompany Charles Hayward’s song of the same title.

Twice (2020, 3 min., HD video)
Self-isolating at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, Smith follows the government’s advice.
06:30 pm
Sat, 01 Oct 2022
Cinema 1

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

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