ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
John Smith

* 1952 in London (UK), lives and works in London

Hotel Diaries, 2001–2007

British filmmaker and video artist John Smith has been a presence in the film, television, and art worlds since the beginning of the 1970s. While influenced from the outset by the formal ideas of 1960s structural filmmaking, Smith is also interested in the potential of narrative and language. Using the images found in his everyday life, the artist explores the limits of documentary and fiction, hence playfully exposing the language and manipulative power of cinema.
The multi-part video work Hotel Diaries is a kind of travel diary the artist recorded over a period of six years always at nighttime in hotel rooms in different places around the world. While the camera wanders between the furniture in anonymous hotel rooms, Smith speaks in a drowsy voice about crises in contemporary world politics, most especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here, banal objects repeatedly form a bridge across personal experiences and primarily media-transmitted political reality, between which the artist makes astonishing connections. (AM)


Hotel Diaries, 2001-2007