Steve Hates Fish

John Smith

2015 | 00:04:42 | United Kingdom | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: City, Language, Mental Landscape, Technology

Filmed directly from the screen of a smartphone using a language translator app that has been told to translate from French into English, Steve Hates Fish interprets the signage and architecture in a busy London shopping street. In an environment overloaded with information, the signs run riot as the confused and restless software does its best to fulfill its task.

"Smith has long engaged with the concept of misunderstanding – be it ideological, political, linguistic, or misunderstanding that arises from subjective narration, filmic devices, and our relationship to the media that shape our view of the world. Smith’s latest video, Steve Hates Fish is an exploration in manufactured misunderstanding. By deliberately confusing the popular 'Word Lens' translator app for smartphones, which translates text in real time using the phone’s camera, Smith recasts the shop signs in his local neighborhood as a bazaar of dada-ist plays-on-words. The jumpy, often useless jumble of words onscreen inspires a kind of empathy. Watching the app search its memory for a corresponding translation is somehow not far from the futility of trying to make heads or tails of signage in a country where one does not speak the language."

—Patrick Armstrong

Please note: An alternative version of this work (without titles for seamless looping) is available for gallery installation.



Pricing Information

Additional Formats/Uses
Request an Exhibition Quote Request an Archival Quote

Please contact or visit with any questions about the license types listed here.


Tanya Leighton Gallery

Exhibitions + Festivals

Sign Language, Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, Germany, November 25th, 2015 - February 27th, 2016

Essex Road II, TINTYPE Gallery, London, England, December 10th, 2015 - January 16th, 2016