Emma Smith has a social practice that is both research and production based and responds to site-specific issues. Using an interdisciplinary approach she creates events, performance, sound, text, installations, objects and public realm landscapes that explore the intra-relation of people and place. Situated in the everyday, Smith’s work investigates historic behaviours in relation to the present, transitory relations to place, practices of being, and the hidden subtleties of human connectivity and entanglement. Excavating embedded knowledge, exploring the psychology of space and considering relational dynamics her work is particularly focussed on social and collective action.
As part of her process Smith regularly collaborates and works through the bringing together of multi-disciplinary teams. Involving thousands of people in each project her work offers ephemeral, morphous and agential experiences particular to those who are there through events, occurrences, instigations and permanent works that can be activated at any time.
FIELDWORK Q&A – July 2015
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
My practice is a process of research, both in output and methodology – practice as research – research as fieldwork. In practice I find a place within the field, similar to that of the anthropologists tent – a place of active retreat from which to re-configure and re-imagine the world – a place from which to operate in the midst but not from the center.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
My practice is primarily concerned with relationship: socio-anthropological and spatial. Through investigating histories and behaviors of place my work seeks to understand how we might better live together.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
I work and exhibit internationally. Exhibitions include Tate Modern, UK, Whitechapel Gallery, UK, Arnolfini, UK, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland, and Matadero Madrid, Spain, with international research and production residencies in Australia, Canadian Arctic, Canada, China, India, Lebanon, Mauritius, Kenya, Denmark, and Italy.
School for Tourists