Scratching the Silver

Anti-Trump Women’s March · Destroyed film

Before I left for Europe, I moved studios. In that process I found a few old rolls of undeveloped film lying around, some damaged and some just fine. The damaged rolls are retaining a particular resonance for me as I am on the road.

Art—and specifically photography—has not been coming easy lately. Only now, overseas, can I feel a certain freedom to work, to really focus. Something more is at stake here than in America, and I realize that it’s a certain social and historical context. An appreciation of time, maybe.

American art and culture has been near completely consumed by popular entertainment and the psyche of commodification. The motivation to create a film not for cultural worth but rather the advertising value of ‘going viral’ is a distinctly modern trait. The abstract, but ultimately consumerist, inspiration for much of the creative output online is something more haunting than being disingenuous. There is a resonance of falsehood in everything American.

Destroyed film of approved protests during times of turmoil, I guess it’s all I’ve got for now.

Posted to Personal at 21:59 on 24 April 2018

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Bike Culture

On a random journey around Amsterdam seeking some inspiration, I found myself drawn to a small park. (I’m not even sure if it’s officially a park—on Google it’s simply called Plaza de la bodoka.)

I’ve returned to the park most days since I’ve been here to work on this painting and there are more than a few reasons I enjoy it. There’s an eclectic mix of people, a small but great corner view of some interesting houseboats … but most of all, for as close as it is to some major city streets, not a single car can be heard.

I don’t know if there’s a park or really place I’ve been to in America where it’s a public and well-trafficked space and not heard a single car. It’s these little things that really add up to the broader argument about cultural differences between America and the rest of the world. All that noise, and for what? Fewer amazing parks?

Posted to Social at 13:29 on 21 April 2018

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Words With No Shape

After the election of Donald Trump, a lot of clever media types decided to name-drop Idiocracy, Mike Judge’s criminally underrated decade-old movie about America getting dumber and more corporate over time, as a reference to our current time. Like, Ha ha, oh how life can mimic art!

The media, of course, is so fucking incompetent they can’t even create a decent metaphor about our current social situation with the entirety of American popular culture to reference. We don’t live in the world of Idiocracy, we live in the world of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

What has happened—especially since the 2016 election—is a broad but ill-defined shift in what words mean. In the movie, it’s very obvious that though a blade of grass is still a blade of grass, it’s now also something completely different because it is giant.

The reality we used to inhabit, before the effects of the concentrated power from how the internet works were of concern to anyone, is gone. It looks and feels the same, but the way we described the world before the internet, and especially before 2016, simply falls short of our current experience. And this lack of cohesive language to build up society with is far more dangerous than an orange idiot with term limits.

Posted to Social at 10:49 on 28 January 2018

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Of The Year II

Annual recaps are a strange thing. Some reads are very good and others very necessary. Most are recaps of recaps of popular culture and other entertainment. Yet, even though it was a solid year for movies, amidst this mass cultural judgment there’s a real question of What are we even doing?

Criticism itself is in a strange place, which might be one of the underlying themes of 2017. The killing of Net Neutrality, the class-war tax bill; even just this past month showcased prime examples of how power has separated itself from the consequence of negative public opinion—some of which comes from usually similar viewpoints.

(Obviously the year should end with an armed uprising in Iran while this asshole makes t-shirts, because that’s just how it’s been in 2017.)

I wonder if this is, perhaps, why opinions are given so much credence in our social structures now; as 2017 has shown, they’re all but meaningless in relation to our system of governance. We can only be critics of each other because those in power are all but admitting they don’t care what we have to say about them, 2017 or any other damn thing in the world.

Posted to Social at 23:13 on 30 December 2017

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Ticket Stubs

At some point soon—possibly after another viewing—I’ll have some things to say about The Last Jedi (though for now, this is pretty hilarious). What is on my mind right now, though, are ticket stubs.

This could be a generational thing, but I have no clue what the cultural adoption of digital tickets is like for kids these days. I have had times in my life where a ticket stub to one show or another was pinned to my wall for years. Do the youths screenshot things or what?

I mention this because, for this Star Wars post, my initial thought was to take a quick photo of the ticket stub, when I realized I didn’t have one. I have a couple texts from Fandango with QR codes attached. Sure, it lets me not stand in a line for 40 minutes, which is worth it, but there’s also a strange sentimental detachment there. Like these public gatherings are getting as anti-social as possible.

Maybe it’s just a desire to stay attached to that sentiment, but ticket stubs and tour posters are usually the only physical experience connecting us to a memory of an event. It’s a strange, small thing to lose that can contain a significant aspect of abstract human relationships to art.

Posted to Social at 21:37 on 20 December 2017

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Information

Welcome to Distorted Perspective. A brief introduction—

—Colin Smith. Born 1982. Some punk rock kid turned multidisciplinary artist & graphic designer-type. An Alaskan in Oregon by way of New England, Georgia, Texas and California looking for hope in the wind. Working in the various languages of truth, systems and identity.

I create works of assembly. Taking a variety of disparate components in any given medium and attempting to build a cohesive whole, I look to mimic the disorder and confusion our conflicted, human lives end up creating naturally through time. My focus is not to communicate through any single process but rather create a language that translates across aesthetic approach; a message that resonates by any means of interaction.

Contact

E-Mail: colin at distorted perspective
Instagram: @aglowinthestatic, @colin.smith.art

Colophon

Distorted Perspective was registered in 1999; it has taken many forms since. Work from the project galleries is 2009-2017. All original content is © to Colin Smith. Please link back to work featured on blogs; contact for any other rights to republication.

The site is a custom built WordPress theme based in the Skeleton framework. The front page utilizes the Responsive Slides script. It is typeset in Bookman JF, Acumin and Vendetta via Typekit.

Elsewhere

Jacob Edwards, a softer world, Carey Young, Matt Dorfman, Neasden Control Centre, void(), Jordan Swartz, Leica Blog, Carola Di Poi, The Baffler, Ilir Bajraktari, Ai Weiwei, Brand New, Noele Lusano, Dane Pollok, McSweeney's, Josh Mason, Artsy, Heidi Uhlman, Design Observer, LOKI, 99% Invisible, Rob Morton, William Basinski, Constellation, Matthew Woodson, AFRU, In B#, This Isn't Happiness, Ryan McCune, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, {ths}, Banksy, Morning Breath, Sarah Symmonds, Chapo Trap House, AWAKE, Hyperallergic, Jessica Clary, Manual, Contemporary Art Daily, Jeanne Fries, Shea Serrano, Robert Singler, Edward Tufte, process.life, Digg, Jacobin, Alex Webb, Jenny Holzer, Art21, Jeremy Okai Davis, David Carson

Exhibitions

* - Denotes group show