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Alan Smith

Artist and co-founder of ACA.


A symbiosis exists between Alan's practice and the creation and delivery of ACA's residential projects. Operating as a participant/observer he is steered by subjects he has little understanding of. Playing with conventions of perceived or accepted truths and realities he creates live events, performance and audio/video installations using
appropriated and created texts.


In an on-going series, Parameter, Alan established conditions for people to share experiences. Rules were set that corresponded to a venues physical attributes and social function, essential to parameter speaking was not permitted. 

Lithuania - Nida Art Colony and Vilnius Academy of Arts

New Zealand - Looking into southern Skies A research trip through Tim Brennan and Massey college of creative arts, Wellington which included trips to the Carter Observatory in Wellington, Canterbury University, department of Astronomy and Physics and Mount John Observatory at Lake Tekapo.  

CHTHONIC In April 2017, Alan led 2 artists John Bowers and Louise K Wilson and engineer Peter Mathews into Smallcleough mine to spend three days and three nights underground in the disused lead mine for an experimental project entitled Chthonic. Immersed in the slow geological time of  exposed mineral accretions, the mine shapes the senses with its varying densities: distinct acoustic spaces have been created as tangible as the visible/ physical ‘deadends’ and crawl spaces that condition the speed and posture of walking. 


They navigated through the tunnels of the Mine (at Nenthead in the North Pennines), and settled into the vast limestone cavern called The Ballroom (so-called because of an event that took place a hundred years earlier).


The four were challenged with existing in the extreme subterranean environment for 72 hours and on the third day visitors – accompanied by licensed mine guides journeyed in to meet them.

Alan Smith, John Bowers, Peter Mathews,  Louise K Wilson - CHTHONIC

‘TENEBROUS’ Into the Darkness – Beneath the light

John Bowers & Alan Smith SANCTUARY

John and Alan ventured beneath the surface of Palnure Burn to create a sound and moving image installation. This process led project was developed from their continued research into transformed perception and experience in sites of specific interest.


Through this, they created a multi-faceted work which explored many concerns including the mythic character of running water and its spectral dwellers, reflection and illusion, the act of immersion, as well as the collision of contemporary image, sound and mobile technologies with a classical element.


The ideas remains under development and progressed through Chthonic

Thanks to Saulius Leonavicius for participating in my Baltic sea experiments. 

Alan Smith, Saulius Leonavicius  - THE DARK BALTIC, LITHUANIA

Alan Smith, John Bowers


Nothing evidences the importance of casting a net with no anticipated catch, or predetermined focus. On the 17th January 2020 I began capturing videos every day, three per location and each for 20 seconds. Using my phone I captured the Nothing videos from wherever I happened to be and with the exclusion of human presence and no limit to the number of video sets per day. For the film, a sequence was constructed with a new video appearing every 2:3 seconds and remaining visible for 19:07 seconds, (19:07 is apparently the average length of time someone looks at an artwork in a gallery) the videos sequentially roll through time covering a period of one year ending on the 16th January 2021. At the outset, the videos were personal to me, the three 20 second videos amounted to a one-minute rest break, necessary while out walking, as I was striving to recover from ill-health. I couldn’t have known of the impending, significant shift in my daily life that would be brought about by Coronavirus; socially, culturally, in employment and with human visibility and physical contact diluted to an absolute minimum. Nothing had been contextually relocated and questions regarding solitude and isolation while alone on my walks became more significant. Living in the remote village of Allenheads in rural Northumberland has provided space, quiet, and a strong sense of seclusion for the last 27 years. But now with my senses on high alert my experience of place had been amplified and the magnitude of all around me from the smallest particles to the grandest expansive vistas are in high definition. The seemingly inconsequential had been stirred, redirecting the way I had previously and inadvertently engaged with life on planet Earth. Normality had lost all meaning and Nothing was growing. Nothing has become a new way of recognising time as it passes and has reconnected me to the place I have lived for 27 years. Nothings make me feel rebooted and more able to see and feel my locale and purpose. I am astounded by the immense power that each set of videos has to trigger detailed and specific memories of each location, time of day and emotions during those short periods. The twelve months has been a living time time-lapse of seasonal change, meteorological movement and psychological bending that I am still struggling to come to terms with from whatever small part of the planet I happen to occupy. Since the 17th of January 2021 I have continued to collect the Nothings, It would appear that Nothing does last forever.

Alan Smith - Searching for the Perseids from planet Cow Green



Alan Smith, John Bowers - TENEBROUS - GALOWAY

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