Rob Smith and Interconnectedness


During the lecture by Rob Smith there were many different elements to consider in his practice. The primary focus was the interconnectedness of everything (us in material terms to the planet, timelines and the relationship of artists work in terms of collaboration). Smith’s work with Charles Danby producing film installations with split screen viewing and recording of the experience of researching a specific site, led to further similar work with an interesting series of work in quarries. The recording of this and display became both film and installation based, exploring environments and the very notion of land art. Later work investigated seismic data and this was developed into sculptural work. Smith’s Field Broadcast was particularly interesting, with various collaborators and an ‘audience’ who downloaded software which meant that the actual ‘broadcast’ when live, would interrupt whatever was happening on their computer screen at that moment in time, this bringing the art to them and becoming embedded in whatever they were working on at the time. This interconnectedness is clearly the focus of much of Smith’s work. We were set the task in small groups of going away with a word and a photograph and producing some collaborative work within about 15 minutes. I was put in a group with Rob and Alison and we were given the word fruit and a photograph of a fruit bowl. Immediately I became concerned that my fruit bowl’s contents was not at all fruit related (that it has become just a ‘holding point’ for random other things, whilst the fruit remained in the plastic punnets it had been purchased in). My fruit bowl probably said too much about me and we very briefly discussed the idea that this was in some way relevant to us: almost a self portrait in a fruit bowl. My chaotic bowl of stuff (totally unrelated to fruit) included chocolate, a makeup bag, some pasta sauce and a bag of bread rolls. We sent the photographs to Rob but there was not enough time to bring this together to share it with the rest of the group. The theory was there but is was an interesting quick activity to take part in. Perhaps my fruit bowl photographs will find their way into my future practice. Or, perhaps, I should get on with clearing it out and putting bananas in it.


Rob and Alison also photographed their fruit bowls but there was not time to share these other than in discussion. I am still looking forward to viewing Rob’s fruit bowl!

The general discussion about how we communicate either consciously or unconsciously with the world through our art, and specifically in the process of collaborating was extremely interesting, particularly as I am looking at the idea of collaborative work and working with specific communities and in healthcare settings. I found this an extremely thought provoking presentation.

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