On the bumpy flight off the island, I have a sense of the island as a living force. I’m leaving behind a powerful entity, but one that’s being deconstructed. Millions of years ago, sediments that circulated at the equator constructed the reef mass that became Gotland. Now those raw materials are being radically dispersed.
— Sam Smith

Sam Smith | gotland island

Sam Smith’s project, produced on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, is a single-channel video that examines the distribution of geological material across time, with a focus on minerals circulated in cultural, economic and environmental contexts. By giving sentience to the island and a voice to its fight against slow deconstruction, the work provides the landmass with agency to make known the problematics of our current crisis, where the Earth’s system dynamics are absorbing the effects of human influence. In this role, Gotland will urge us to think and feel on geological scales, to slow down and to receive messages transmitted by planetary media.

About the artist

Sam Smith currently lives and works in London. Upcoming exhibitions include: Ways of Looking, Gallery of Contemporary Art, E-WERK, Freiburg; and Glasgow International 2016 at The Telfer Gallery. Recent projects include: Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra; Screen Space, Melbourne; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Australian Centre for Moving Image, Melbourne; Sandefjord Kunstforening and Larvik Kunstforening, Norway; Jupiter Woods, London; and insitu, Berlin (all 2015); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; The Artists’ Film Biennial, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; The Royal Standard, Liverpool; and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (all 2014). He was selected for FOKUS 2015, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen (2015) and Les Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid (2014-2015). From 2013 to 2014 he was part of the International Studio Programme at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.

About the host partner

BAC – Baltic Art Center is a production office, a research, work and meeting place for artists, curators, contemporary art writers and thinkers that develops, tests and runs a variety of production and residency programs. Established in 1999 BAC is an international meeting place in the Baltic Sea region connecting artists and organisations in Sweden, the Baltic region and internationally.

BAC is situated in Visby, the capital of the Island of Gotland. The island is 3100km2, has an extraordinary landscape, and is situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Visby is a medieval old town, and historically was the most important Hanseatic city in the Baltic Sea.