White Hole

John Smith

2014 | 00:06:43 | United Kingdom | English | B&W | Mono | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Mental Landscape, Sound, Visual Art

The only time I’ve visited a communist country was when I went to Poland in 1980, not long after Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government was first elected in Britain. I first visited the former East Germany in 1997, eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and a few months after Tony Blair's ‘New Labour’ government was elected. Recalling these experiences many years later, White Hole questions our imaginings of life in other places, times and political systems, mirroring its narrative through its form. London and Warsaw, 1980. London and Leipzig, 1997. Where now?

"It's a simple but very powerful juxtaposition of image and sound which reverberates as the film loops, working dialectically to express positives and negatives, beliefs and realities, history and present, forwards and backwards. We're reminded of a time in the middle of the last Century when there was a strong belief on both sides of Europe that a better world was possible – that there was a light at the end of the tunnel – with each side looking to the other for inspiration. And we're reminded of the opposite, the reversal of progress, with that idealism and confidence evaporating into our current lack of an alternative politics, and how our political and economic life goes steadily backwards across the continent as social and collective bonds are loosened by implacable neoliberal market forces."

—Mike Quille, Morning Star, December 3rd 2014

"… What might console, in a limited way, is the deep formal and inferential gratification of White Hole, a film of such impeccable economy – a few minutes, a mirroring structure, two photographs, a bit of chat, decades of geopolitical change mordantly trapped between – that you can't believe it didn't already exist; that it wasn't always out there, waiting to arrive."

—Martin Herbert, Art Monthly, December 2014

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



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Exhibitions + Festivals

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

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, November 28th, 2014 - January 11th, 2015

‘La Galerie, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, Paris, France, November 29th, 2014