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John Smith's London - Film at the Barbican ScreenTalk with John Smith and Ian Christie

Last night I went to see artist filmaker John Smith's films at the Barbican. The show was part of a two week programme of films Urban Wandering - Film and the Landscape. FIlms shown: Girl Chewing gum, Hackney Marshes, The Black tower, Blight and Lost sound. I was interested to hear in the interview when he was asked, why London? He simply replied that this was his surroundings, it was familiar to him - in fact most of the films are shot within a 5 mile radius of Dalston. However the films aren't necessarily about London -they could be about 'things'. I also found it really interesting how he makes a virtue out of the mundane topography of London. In Lost Sound he films the bleakest of places, rundown estates - London streets on bleak rainy evenings. These places are given individuality by found cassette tape (loose from the reel) and played revealing one person’s musical taste and reliving the time when it was played. The image is from The Black Tower, (1985/7)

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